SA lockdown, not Covid-19, has killed economy, says DA
Johannesburg - A hard lockdown enforced by the government to try and contain Covid-19 transmissions has hurt the economy more than the pandemic itself, the Democratic Alliance has said.
In a statement issued late on Wednesday, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement earlier in the night of a further lifting of lockdown restrictions was an admission that the shutdown, in place since March 27, serves no purpose and has failed.
"He seems to have finally realised just how devastating this lockdown has been – and will continue to be – for ordinary South Africans, but it’s happened far too late," Steenhuisen said.
"Everything he announced tonight could have – and should have – been announced almost two months ago."
In a national address broadcast on local television and radio stations, Ramaphosa acknowledged that the measures taken to fight the coronavirus had, like the disease itself, caused "massive disruption in the lives of our people, bringing our economy to a standstill and threatening the livelihoods of millions".
South Africa has now registered 80 412 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 1 674 people succumbing to the virus while 44 331 have recovered, the latest data showed on Wednesday.
Ramaphosa's government initially enjoyed overwhelming support across the political divide when it first announced the lockdown which grounded most activity save for essential services, but the support has largely fallen away, with critics saying the restrictions have gone on too long and slamming some measures such as the continued ban on cigarette sales as arbitrary.
In his scathing comments on Wednesday, Steenhuisen said the president’s words of commiseration for all the industries and businesses that have not been able to operate and whose employees have earned no salary since late March "ring hollow indeed, as it is his government’s irrational lockdown that has caused this misery".
"The truth is that the world’s longest hard lockdown, and not Covid19, killed our economy and ruined the lives of millions of South Africans. And what do we have to show for it? Nothing, is the short answer," he said.
African News Agency/ANA
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