Covid-19: Ramaphosa cancels planned address to nation tonight

22 March 2020 - 19:31 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
President Cyril Ramaphosa waves after addressing the media on the stairs of the Union Buildings on Sunday, after he engaged political parties and business leaders amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.
President Cyril Ramaphosa waves after addressing the media on the stairs of the Union Buildings on Sunday, after he engaged political parties and business leaders amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

President Cyril Ramaphosa has cancelled his scheduled address to the nation on Sunday night because the national command council on Covid-19 meeting he is chairing is dealing with “weighty issues” and likely to go on until late.

This is according to minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu, who was addressing the media at the Union Buildings on Sunday night.

Mthembu said Ramaphosa will now address the nation only on Monday “because we do not want to take short cuts”.

Said Mthembu: “It will not be helpful for the president to speak to the people of South Africa when the structure that advises him, which is the national command council, has not concluded its business and looked at all the issues that affect South Africans.

“Let us assume that the meeting concludes at midnight, then it will be unfair for the president to address people who are sleeping.”

Mthembu said among the issues on the agenda of the meeting in session were questions on how to deal with the economic affect of coronavirus.

“Among other issues is to look at the affect on our people by this coronavirus and how do we mitigate against that affect. So that is the issue before the national command council,” said Mthembu.

“But also the affect of this virus on the poor, the vulnerable and workers and how should government respond.

“It is not an easy matter, the meeting is continuing and is likely to continue until very late and therefore there is no possibility that the president will address the nation tonight. We are making arrangement that the president to address the nation tomorrow [Monday].”


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