President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country’s flag would be flown at halfmast from 6am -6pm. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country’s flag would be flown at halfmast from 6am -6pm. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

South Africa to mourn Covid-19, GBV and femicide victims from November 25-29

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

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Cape Town - South Africans will in the next two weeks embark on a mourning period and will remember the thousands of lives lost through the Covid-19 pandemic, gender-based violence and femicide.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that November 25 - 29 would be set aside for mourning and that on these days, the country's flag will be flown half-mast from 6am -6pm.

The bold move comes amid a deepening crisis in the country with thousands of hundreds of women dying at the hands of their partners among other things.

Ramaphosa said: "It will be appropriate during the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children. We should demonstrate our remembrance to all those who departed due to Covid and gender-based violence.

"Cabinet has decided that from November 25 to November 29 the nation should embark on a five day morning of victims of Covid-19 as well as victims of GBV and femicide."

He called on all to wear black armbands or other signs of mourning to signify and respect those who departed.

Ramaphosa also reported that to date the country has recorded 742 000 infections and 20011 deaths.

He said although infections were stabilising, many people were getting infected every day.

"We have seen how in other countries resurgence can dash hopes for swift economic recovery. We must do everything that we can to prevent this from happening in South Africa."

Ramaphosa said Eastern Cape was already showing signs of resurgence with Nelson Mandela Metro and Sarah Baartman District as hotspots.

"Evidence suggests the increases in Eastern Cape could be triggered by outbreaks in institutions of higher learning, schools and attendance by people at large gatherings.

"When this is combined with poor adherence to social distance, mask-wearing and other poor hygiene, the environment for rising for infection is set."

He said with people moving between Eastern Cape and other provinces, particularly the Western Cape, the surge could spread to other parts of the country.

"We, therefore, need to take measures to contain the rise in infections."

He said they were implementing a resurgence plan developed with a surge team deployed by WHO.

Ramaphosa also said they were monitoring developments in areas that have higher than average rates of new infections

These included Mangaung, Lejweleputswa, Francis Baard Pixley ka Seme in Northern Cape as well as the Garden Route and City of Cape Town in Western Cape.

"We can avoid the second wave if we play our part. If we remember what to do to keep ourselves and others safe," he said.

In his address, Ramaphosa also announced extension of the TERS scheme benefit by a month, trading hours for alcohol sales and the opening up of international travel to all countries.

He also extended the national state of disaster by another month.

Political Bureau

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