Malema: Economy is secondary, hard lockdown should continue until scientific solution found

EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 28, 2020


Johannesburg - The EFF believes the national lockdown should continue and matters of the economy should come secondary to saving lives. 

The party's leader Julius Malema held a virtual press briefing on Thursday and criticised the government's decision to reopen up certain parts of the economy from June 1. 

Malema said if the party was in charge it would have taken a different strategy of managing the coronavirus crisis. He said they would support social distancing measures and would isolate people to ensure they would be safe. He said the current strategy was not justified by science. 

He said the government failed to prove that the move to level 3 was justified as it was not even testing the promised 30 000 tests a day. According to Malema the country should have remained at level five and the Western Cape remaining even on level 6.

"We want a lockdown that will reduce the spread and flatten the curve. We must isolate our people, we must lockdown until a scientific solution is found. Those that claim people will die of hunger are misleading us. There are no graves of hunger. We will see more graves because of the government's reckless approach. The economy will come secondary especially an economy controlled by WMC (white monopoly capital)," Malema said. 

He also criticised the government's move to unban the sale of alcohol during level 3. The decision would see resources needed to fight the virus being divided by people who would need to be treated because of alcohol use, Malema said.

The EFF leader said there was no scientific evidence that justified the unbanning of alcohol and the continued ban on tobacco. 

"Banning of tobacco should be supported by scientific explanation. It has been proven that alcohol contributes to overpopulation of trauma units. It cannot be correct that you lift alcohol and ban cigarette sales. If you were to compare with what alcohol does, immediately you'd lift the ban on cigarettes and close alcohol. 

There's no scientific evidence," he said. 

Malema also claimed that the continued ban on tobacco would actually benefit big companies and disadvantage smaller tobacco manufacturers. He downplayed claims that Cogta Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was against the sale of tobacco because of an alleged relationship with cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti. He said Dlamini Zuma's stance on cigarettes was well-known and documented.


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

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit