Cyril Ramaphosa dismisses lockdown talk, will address SA next week

President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed rumours of a return to hard lockdown. File image

President Cyril Ramaphosa has flatly dismissed speculation that he is planning to return the country to a hard lockdown.

Despite warnings of a Covid-19 resurgence, including from health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Ramaphosa said a hard lockdown was not on the cards.

Ramaphosa made the say while taking oral questions from MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on a range of issues, including Covid-19 corruption, gender-based violence and the controversial trip to Zimbabwe last month by defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula with the ANC in tow.

Responding to a question from the DA’s Tim Brauteseth, Ramaphosa said while he was concerned about the recent spike in Covid-19 infections, there was “no need to be alarmed”.

He said he had received a report from a team advising his government on Covid-19 on Tuesday before his appearance before the NCOP, and he would be considering it before addressing the nation during next week.

He said talk of a return to a hard lockdown was premature, adding that what was required for now was strict adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols — particularly as the festive season approached.

“We’ve been reading about reports of how groups of people have gone to various manifestations, it could be meetings, it could be parties, where infections have been reported, where people having gathered together have become super spreaders.

“That is worrying and we must continue to say, as South Africans, we need to make sure that we heed adherence to the measures that have been put to us by the medical advisory committee. We all need to adhere to those measures, particularly now, as … we move towards that fun period of December where people will let their guard down,” he said.

But he was adamant that the rumours of increased lockdown measures were “simply not true”.

“I don’t want our people to be alarmed with rumours such as we’re going to level 3. That is simply not true and I want to assure everyone that is not true. If it ever gets there, I will be the one to advise the nation where we are and where we are going. For now, all we need to is to adhere to our preventive measures,” he said.

BY Thabo Mokone

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