‘Government is the weakest link,’ says Steenhuisen after Ramaphosa address

Receiving the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines today was a failure, says the DA’s John Steenhuisen.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Not everyone was positively moved by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of victory of the country’s receipt of a million Covid-19 vaccines, the lifting of the beach and alcohol bans and the adjustment of the curfew by a few hours.

The DA on Monday questioned the reasoning behind several of Ramaphosa’s latest moves, saying he could have done more.

Ramaphosa announced that the curfew had been adjusted from 11pm to 4am.

On this, DA leader John Steenhuisen said: “We call for the curfew to be lifted completely. Freedom of movement is a basic civil liberty and there is absolutely no justification for denying it. Restaurants that haven’t yet shut shop need all the trading hours they can get. Government is the weakest link.”

The closures of beaches has been a contention for many, with some dragging the government to court amid reports of damage to coastal economies.

But on Monday, Ramaphosa announced that beaches and parks would be reopened. Alcohol sale and distribution was once again permitted.

On this, Steenhuisen said: “The DA notes the lifting of the nonsensical beach ban and the easing of alcohol restrictions and curfew. However, these come too late to save hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses have been needlessly destroyed by our indiscriminate state.”

While the opposition party has welcomed the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine on SA shores, it stressed that this was a little too late. It also criticised government for what it deemed to be a precise rollout plan.

“No matter how Ramaphosa spins it, citizens have been badly let down by an incapable state that has neither the ability nor the will to protect lives and livelihoods. That the first vaccines only arrived on our shores today is a failure,” he added.

Political party GOOD said that Ramaphosa’s announcement that there had been a reduction in Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions was a positive one.

“The introduction of stringent restrictions in late December 2020 was necessary to curb the surge of the second-wave infections and to reduce the strain on health-care workers, facilities and critical care units. The restrictions have proven to be effective but they should only remain in place for as long as is necessary.

“The reopening of some alcohol trade, the relaxation of curfew hours and the opening of public amenities is an important step but we must do everything we can to avoid the reintroduction of restrictions when we are faced with the inevitable third wave. It is important that all of us continue to be vigilant and cautious so that we can mitigate the impact of the third wave,” said party secretary-general Brett Herron.

by Naledi Shange

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