DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

DA calls on private sector to help in fight against Covid-19

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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Johannesburg - The DA has urged the private sector to pump more resources into the fight against the spread of Covid-19 as the number of infected people continues to surge in the country.

The official opposition has released a document containing its proposed solutions to the sporadic spread of the pandemic which had infected 1326 people and has killed three people within the country.

The party said while it commended the hard work by the government to prepare for the worst with regard to the coronavirus, including the securing of around 800 beds for the isolation and treatment of patients, more efforts needed to be made with the assistance of the private sector.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said South Africa’s preparedness needed to far exceed some of the best international models as the country had a unique set of circumstances, including inequality and dense population, which made many people unable to self-quarantine should they become ill.

“That is why the private sector should pledge resources in this fight. This is not a public health crisis. It is a South African crisis. Where we govern, we are engaging with the private sector however, this needs to be rolled out on a national scale with private partners pledging their support to government,” Steenhuisen said.

The DA has also urged government to devise punitive measures for people who refused to come forward for the Covid-19 testing despite being urged by the government.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that all people who had landed in the country in mid-February would have to present themselves for voluntary testing. 

“South Africa is weak on enforcement and it is unclear how this intervention is going to be monitored with a view to determining the efficacy and manage the performance of implementation. It is critical that we have a penalty system for people that do not abide by this request,” Steenhuisen said.

On the economy, the DA has commended government’s measures aimed at assisting businesses that were set to be hit the hardest by the national lockdown, which saw many being shutdown with employees urged to stay at home.

The party called for all banks to give small and medium business payment holidays of four months for their loans and for the government to urge property owners to also consider giving the businesses four-month payment holidays for rent payments as they would be cash strapped by the time the lockdown is lifted.

Political Bureau

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