Cape Town - The IFP says while it welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement to move the country to lockdown level 2, it is concerned about what it describes as the slow pace of the mass vaccination drive.
Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday and announced that the country would immediately go into alert level 2 in an attempt to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic amid the third wave.
The decision to move from level 1 to 2 was made by the Cabinet in conjunction with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).
IFP national spokesperson and MP, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said stricter restrictions would hopefully ensure that all South Africans adhered to the lockdown regulations and that greater awareness was raised to prevent a third-wave from spreading.
“However, the vaccination drive in our country has been slow and we urge the government to ramp up our efforts in getting more South Africans inoculated before matters become any worse.
“Indeed, we remain concerned as regards the impact that these stricter measures may have on political parties’ ability to campaign for the upcoming local government elections.
“We have and always will believe that prevention is better than cure, and it is imperative that the government together with business, organised labour, civil society and citizens work together to prevent the further spread of Covid-19,” Hlengwa said.
Meanwhile DA national spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said the earlier curfew would do nothing in the long-term fight against Covid-19.
“While we welcome the restriction on large gatherings, vaccines are needed urgently to stem the bleeding of the South African economy.”
Gwarube added that the “only acceptable” announcement would have been that the president had instructed Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to step down until the finalisation of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into his role in the awarding of a multimillion-rand contract to a company run by close associates of the minister.
“Minister Mkhize cannot be the player and the referee in this investigation. He needs to be removed so that the SIU can conduct its work without undue political influence. It cannot be that the president allows the person charged with leading the Covid-19 response in the country (to have) damning allegations against him.
“The DA has repeatedly called for an efficient vaccine roll-out programme for the past year. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated South Africa’s social and economic challenges and we simply cannot afford any further restrictions,” she said.