POLL | Booze ban, beach closure or extended curfews - what do you think Ramaphosa will say tonight?
The president is set to address the nation about the government's response to the second wave of Covid-19 infections in SA
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to hold a “family meeting” on Monday evening, with speculation rife about whether he will reintroduce stricter lockdown regulations.
Ramaphosa is set to address the nation about the government's response to the second wave of Covid-19 infections in SA.
The presidency said the address comes after the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), the president’s co-ordinating council (PCC) and a special sitting of the cabinet held meetings on Sunday.
Over the past few days, speculation has been mounting that Ramaphosa may implement further restrictions on liquor sales, extend the curfew and even close provincial borders before the December 16 holiday.
According to reports, among other things, Ramaphosa may announce the closure or new rules for visiting beaches to combat the rise in infections.
Speaking at a World Universal Health Coverage Day event at the weekend, health minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africans needed to make a choice between life, or sickness and death.
He said the country needed to take action to save lives and protect everyone.
“The time has come for South Africans to make a choice — life, or sickness and death. If we choose life, then we must realise that we have to make sacrifices during this festive season,” he said.
“It will not be possible to celebrate the holidays in the way we are accustomed. We must now understand that the frivolities that are usually associated with the festive season must make way for the things that really matter — family and friends, caring for one another, physical and spiritual rejuvenation and preserving the spirit of ubuntu.”
DA MP Manny De Freitas opposed plans to close the country's beaches during the festive season, saying the government should be encouraging people to congregate outdoors and not inside, where the virus may spread more easily.
“The reality is that if holidaymakers are prevented from going to beaches, they will instead congregate in areas such as shopping centres, exactly the places where large crowds should not be congregating,” said De Freitas.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said the province would not be closing its beaches any time soon.
He told eNCA the province was concerned about overcrowding on specific days - including December 16, 26, and 31 - but it would not close beaches.
Zikalala said the province would instead implement strict measures, like wearing masks and social distancing, and ensure that protocols are followed.
“Beaches will not be closed for now — that is the decision we have taken. If it comes to push, we might be forced to close the beaches for swimming, but allow people to be in and around the beach for leisure,” said Zikalala.
On social media, many predicted that the address may “end in tears”, with restrictions tightened.
I wish Ramaphosa would barn all social gatherings and put up a curfew from 8pm to 4am, from tonight until the the 3rd Jan. And most importantly, no gatherings for counting down the year, everybody must count down the New Year in their homes!!! #FamilyMeeting— Akhere Pumla (@AkherePumla) December 14, 2020