Cape Town – The DA has rejected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that his administration was only planning to move the current national lockdown to level 3 at the end of the month.
The official opposition has been pushing for Ramaphosa’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to immediately end the lockdown, arguing it was destroying the economy through its stringent regulations.
Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday the government was planning to further relax the level 4 regulations in relation to business activity in the coming days while most parts of the country were set for level 3, with exception of Covid-19 hot spots.
On Thursday, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen said Covid-19 infections would inevitably rise significantly and that the economy had to be opened immediately.
“We cannot remain trapped by the fear of the duration of Covid-19 because this illness could be with us for the next two years.
"We must learn to manage it and to live with it. We have to end the hard national lockdown and we have to do it now.”
Confirmed Covid-19 infections were at 12 074, with 219 deaths by Thursday noon.
Steenhuisen indicated the DA rejected Ramaphosa’s call on South Africans to wait for the next month for the further phased reopening of the economy.
“We don’t have another two weeks. That is why the DA has now decided to take further action because somebody has to and the president won’t.
"One by one, we will fight and we will overturn every decision and every regulation that is either irrational or immoral until we have done what the president could not do, end the hard lockdown,” he said.
The DA is currently waging a legal battle against the government over the use of the broad based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) policy as the criteria for the Covid-19 relief for small and medium businesses.
The party has also written to the international Monetary Fund (IMF), urging it to instruct the SA government, as a precondition to secure the loan the country is currently seeking, to abandon the B-BBEE policy.
Steenhuisen maintained the DA would also be filing papers on Friday to force Ramaphosa to immediately need the current lockdown.