Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA) Archives
Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA) Archives

EFF slams 'ridiculous' relaxation of lockdown regulations

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Apr 17, 2020

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Pretoria - The EFF on Friday criticised the government for the ongoing relaxation of its strict lockdown, imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

“The EFF rejects this logic which is not supported by any medical evidence that it is safe to relax regulations. In fact, all medical and epidemiological evidence suggests that we should stick to strict regulations across the board. It is clear that relaxations being implemented are purely for profit maximisation by greedy companies,” it said. 

It highlighted the relaxation of three regulations announced by Cabinet ministers:

  • allowing mines to operate at 50% production in a bid “to avoid seismic shifts and rock fall” 
  • allowing call centres to operate in an effort “to help with insurance”
  • allowing goods already at ports to be exported to avoid congestion when the lockdown is lifted. 

“The idea that mines must operate at 50% production to avoid seismic shifts is not only ridiculous, but lacks evidence. There is absolutely no truth in the assumption that if mines do not operate at 50 percent production they will experience rockfall and collapse,” the EFF argued. 

“Mines collapse at 100% operation, causing catastrophic rack [sic] fall that have claimed hundreds of poor mineworkers’ lives. No one can provide a scientific basis that it takes 50% and not 10%, 5% or 3% of production for rocks not to fall in a given mine. They are not even talking about maintenance, but actual production; this regulation is only seeking to keep the workers working so that mine bosses continue to make profit during the global pandemic.” 

The Julius Malema-led party said the regulation allowing call centres to operate “is also irresponsible and not supported by essential urgency”. 

“How ridiculous it is for companies to force thousands of workers to report to work simply to facilitate insurance for Edgars, Woolworths, or PepStore? There is nothing urgent or essential about these shops except profit.” 

On allowing goods at South Africa’s ports to be exported, the EFF said the relaxation of the regulations was a weak justification for business to continue as normal at the ports. 

“In fact there is reason to believe that alcohol which is already in the ports will not leave the country through this regulation. The only thing that these amended regulations do is to give operational legitimacy to nonessential services for the sole purpose of profit maximisation at the expense of people’s lives. 

“The most important reason we object to relaxations of any regulations in non-essential services at this stage is because of the poor numbers of tested people. As of last night [Thursday], only 95 060 people have been tested, majority in private institutions. Of these, 2 605 are positive.” 

African News Agency/ANA

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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