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Majority of opposition parties want tougher Covid hotspot restrictions

Political parties have shown support for plans to impose stricter restrictions in SA’s Covid hotspots. Se-Anne Rall

Political parties have shown support for plans to impose stricter restrictions in SA’s Covid hotspots. Se-Anne Rall

Published Dec 2, 2020

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Plans by the National Coronavirus Command Council to impose certain restrictions on Covid-19 hotspots in different parts of the country, particularly the Eastern Cape and parts of the Western Cape, have enjoyed the backing of most of the country’s political parties.

This comes as media reports suggested that following its meeting yesterday, the NCCC had agreed that a 10pm to 4pm curfew be imposed. This would see restaurants and bars halting serving food and alcohol at 9pm, and the sale of alcohol only from Monday to Thursday was necessary to spread the spike in Covid-19 infections.

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Although the DA came out scathing in its criticism of the NCCC’s mooted plans, the decision, should it be implemented, was given the thumbs-up by parties including the EFF, IFP, UDM and ACDP.

Narend Singh, IFP chief whip in the National Assembly, said they would not be surprised if certain areas had certain restrictions imposed given the fact that there was a spike in infection in areas such as the Eastern Cape and parts of the Western Cape.

He lamented that this rise in infections was because people in those particular areas were not adhering to lockdown measures for their own sake and this made it inevitable for regulations and restrictions to be imposed.

“The people are letting their guard down and irresponsibly so. We can’t be constantly reminded like children what needs to be done, but people are still just not doing what needs to be done,” said Singh.

Bantu Holomisa, UDM leader and MP, said that the aim was to save the lives of many in this country.

“So we cannot question at this stage their (the NCCC’s) scientific approach because all we know is that we are burying people now and again. If it is intended to save lives then yes, we support it,” Holomisa said.

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Wayne Thring, deputy president of the ACDP, said they preferred the approach of isolating hotspot areas. Instead of putting onerous restrictions on the entire economy the government should have used targeted interventions in areas that experienced outbreaks.

EFF national spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said: “This is all about people’s lives. The government needs to take scientific measures, not some thumbsucked rules that do not fall in line with science. If those regulations are within the logic of science and curbing of the spread of Covid-19 then it makes sense.”

However, Dean Macpherson, DA spokesperson on trade and industry, said these were not sustainable solutions going forward as businesses could not factor in a “stop start” approach every time there is a “wave” of Covid-19.

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“What we need to ensure is that the law is enforced, including alcohol-related behaviour change. This is what SAPS and metro police should be doing on a daily basis. However, the government wants to punish restaurants for its policing failures,” said Macpherson.

Political Bureau

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