Pretoria – The ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to South Africa HE Mahash al Hameli on Sunday praised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government for its handling of the Covid-19 crisis and congratulated the people of South Africa for the way in which they had responded to the government’s call to stay at home during this time.
South Africa has been under lockdown for 64 days in one of the longest and strictest quarantines yet imposed in the world. On Monday 1 June, 2020, the country will move down to Level 3, the mid-point of a five-level lockdown strategy, as the most of the economy re-opens.
“Thanks to the inspired, courageous and steadfast leadership of His Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa succeeded in flattening the curve of the Novel Coronavirus, exactly as they had set out to do, keeping infection and mortality rates dramatically lower than countries which recorded their first cases of Covid-19 at a similar time, because of the speed with which President Ramaphosa imposed the lockdown.”
The lockdown, said the ambassador, had exacted its toll upon all South African citizens and people working in the country, including the diplomatic corps.
“I have spoken to most of my colleagues here in Pretoria and while it was challenging for all of us to work and live under these strict regulations, we all agree that President Ramaphosa’s decision was the best possible strategy, faithfully following the very best international standards and letting science dictate the correct course of action.”
South Africa would be forever grateful to its president, he said, for doing what he had done to save as many lives as possible. The African Union was fortunate too, to have the leadership of someone of the calibre of the South African president at its helm during this time.
“This year, the African Union through its appointment of special Covid-19 envoys, its raising of $25-million towards the Covid-19 Response Fund set up under President Ramaphosa’s guidance last month and an additional $36.5-million to the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, has been a shining beacon of hope for the continent and indeed an example to the world, especially the developing world of how countries can work together in their times of greatest need for the benefit of all their people.”
The UAE, said the ambassador, had already sent seven tons of much needed medical supplies to help South Africa in its fight against the virus during the first weeks of the lockdown, as well as providing computer equipment to needy university students to be able to study remotely as well as contributing to emergency relief packages for communities in distress in Pretoria.
“We have a long and proud friendship with the people of South Africa and we are dedicated at the United Arab Emirates to being an active partner and contributor with the rest of the international community to fighting the biggest global public health emergency in living memory.”
The continuous and active engagement was within the framework of strengthening the medical capabilities of a large number of friendly countries such as South Africa. To date, the UAE has provided more than 658 metric tons of aid to more than 57 countries, supporting nearly 658 000 medical professionals in the process.