From reopening the economy to GBV - five critical points from Ramaphosa's address on lockdown changes

18 June 2020 - 09:32 By Cebelihle Bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa gave an update on the Covid-19 risk adjusted strategy on Wednesday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa gave an update on the Covid-19 risk adjusted strategy on Wednesday night.
Image: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday gave an update about the Covid-19 risk adjusted strategy.

Here are five critical aspects from his address:


SA is considering using dexamethasone, a steroid drug which was recently revealed to have significant benefits in reducing death rates among severely ill Covid-19 patients.

“The department of health and the ministerial advisory committee has recommended that this drug can be considered for use on patients on ventilators, and those who are on oxygen supply. We believe that this will improve our management of the disease among those who are most severely affected.” 

Reopening the economy

Restaurants, non-contact sports such as golf and tennis, cinemas, theatres and beauty services like salons and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen under adjustments to level 3 of the lockdown, under strict safety conditions. This is to save livelihoods and prevent further job losses. No date has been announced for this yet.

“Following discussions with industry representatives, on stringent prevention protocols, and after advice from our scientists and consultations at a provincial level with premiers and the national coronavirus command council, the cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on other economic activities.”

Africa’s response to Covid-19

Africa has more than 250,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, a relatively low number in comparison to other countries. This can be attributed to the continent’s swift response and unified efforts in the fight against the disease.

 “We are working closely with other agencies and countries in response to the virus. As chair of the AU, we are involved in forging a common approach across the continent, ensuring that we mobilise resources and develop strategies to ensure that no country is left behind.”

Women empowerment 

The closure of the beauty industry is not only affecting the economy, but also the livelihoods of women, who dominate the industry, whether as formal or informal business owners.

“The last three months have been particularly difficult for the women who work as therapists, in spas and technicians, many of whom are in businesses that are also owned by women and some of whom are in informal businesses. This will give them the support to become financially independent.”

Gender-based violence

South Africans must unite and fight the scourge of gender-based violence and the abuse of children.

“I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is waged against women and children of our country. The women of this country are raped and killed by men. These rapists walk among us, they are in our communities. They are fathers, brothers, sons and our friends. They are violent men who have no regard for the sanctity of human life.”