'The worst is still coming': Cyril Ramaphosa on Covid-19

05 May 2020 - 16:45 By Orrin Singh and Zimasa Matiwane
President Cyril Ramaphosa, national health minister Zweli Mkhize and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala in Durban on Tuesday
President Cyril Ramaphosa, national health minister Zweli Mkhize and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala in Durban on Tuesday
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated that the country has to plan and be prepared for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, which is yet to come.

Ramaphosa was speaking at a briefing in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday where he was accompanied by health minister Zweli Mkhize and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala.

“We've got to plan, and I'm afraid we've got to plan for the worst. We've been informed that the worst is still coming. The important thing is that we need to ensure we lessen the pace at which infections are going to take place.”

The president said the province needed more hospital beds and more funding for education.

The issue of supplementing funding for education was raised last week by provincial education MEC Kwazi Mshengu last week after he visited a school that had been vandalised.

Zikalala identified the hotspots in eThekwini as being Umlazi (Y, P, U, Z Sections) Chatsworth, Verulam and Westville.

Concern has been raised over the high amount of cases in eThekwini followed by the iLembe district, north of Durban.

Ramaphosa says a post Covid-19 economic future must ensure inclusive growth, women and young youth empowerment and incorporate black people in the main.

“Radical economic transformation must underpin the economic future that we need to craft going forward,” he said.

He said the pandemic gave SA an opportunity to reconstruct the economy.

“I am characterising it as a war and we must start planning for a post war situation which gives rise to challenges and opportunities and we must address challenges. My view is that we have to put in place the pillars of the new economy, we cannot continue the same way,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said it was time to begin to put in place pillars of a new economy which will include identifying new sectors of a post Covid-19 economy and rebuilding those that have been badly affected by the pandemic.

“Many people are going to lose their jobs, we need to find and create and build jobs for the many of our people who are going to lose jobs.

“We need to be asking ourselves what is this new vision that we envisage for our country going forward and come up with a clear economic strategy,” he added.

The president said building blocks for a post Covid-19 economy were already in place.

“This will include all key players of our economy, our country, labour, business, community based organisations and government, we must be visionary enough to be able to ensure that as we rebuild we look out for new ways of economic activity,” he added.

He said state capacity will also be innovative, SOEs be developmental while the economy will be managed in “new ways”.