PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the government will in the next few days assess the effectiveness of the lockdown to stop the spread of the virus to decide if it should be extended.
Speaking to journalists after touring central water commands centre in Joburg, Ramaphosa said the lockdown has played a major role in restricting the spread of the virus.
“We will be able to make a proper, if you like scientific assessment, to see how well this lockdown is serving the people of our country. But what I can say is that if we hadn't locked down, I can tell you without a shadow of doubt, the infection rate in South Africa would have been a lot higher than we have today.
“So, the lockdown by all intense and purposes have been the most important measure,” Ramaphosa said.
He added that by and large most of the people have been compliant with established regulations but stressed that there were pockets of people in the society who were going with their lives as if things were normal.
“We want to say to those people even though we are right in the middle of the lockdown period, that this is a serious disease. It is affecting people throughout the world and we South Africans must take it seriously. We must abide by regulations published by the government,” he said.
He reminded the people how serious the virus was and how it was killing people elsewhere around the world.
“I want to reiterate to the rest of the country that the virus is still with us, we need to keep the social distance, isolation and wash our hands. We need to make sure that we don't spread the disease from person to person,” he said.
His call for people to abide by the regulations comes as pictures of one of his ministers emerged having lunch in a house of a friend, in what appears to be a breach of regulations.
Pictures emerged of Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a house of former ANC MP Mduduzi Manana having lunch with his family. Manana has since deleted the picture on his Instagram account but he claimed that the minister was working in his neighborhood and decided to pop in for lunch afterwards.
Ramaphosa said he had seen the picture and has called Ndabeni-Abrahams to discuss the picture which was sending a wrong message of what the government was trying to do.
“So yes, I am going to have a discussion with the minister, so let’s leave it there for now,” he said.
About the water centre, Ramaphosa said he had gone to visit the centre to see for himself the important component of the fight against the virus. He added that if the infection has to be reduced the distribution of water was critical.
“Many of our people said they do not have access to water and that led us to immediately embark on a massive project of distributing water tanks throughout the country.
“Much as it is a pandemic that we don't need in our lives, it has given us an opportunity as a country to work in a different way, to reach out to our people and deliver water,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the government has procured 400 000 water tanks and these were being distributed.