‘There is a family meeting this evening’: minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni confirms Tuesday address

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation. File photo.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on Tuesday night at 20h00, acting minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, told TimesLIVE.

The address comes amid calls for tighter restrictions and lockdown measures in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with Gauteng at the forefront of the country’s surging third wave.

“There is a family meeting this evening,” Ntshavheni said via text message.

A statement confirming the address was expected to be released on Tuesday afternoon, she added.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ramaphosa chaired meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council as well as cabinet.

National Liquor Traders Council’s Lucky Ntimane said: “We have been lobbying for justified restrictions and ensuring the lives of citizens are preserved. We are hoping that there won’t be a booze ban because it will not make sense for economic recovery.”

Ntimane said the alcohol industry was committed to working with the government in fighting the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Business Day reported that the government’s scientific advisers had recommended it impose tighter lockdown restrictions and reintroduce a ban on alcohol sales to try to curb SA’s surging coronavirus infections.

In an advisory submitted to acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has recommended a return to lockdown level 3, imposing similar restrictions to those implemented in December during the second wave of infections.

This would mean an earlier evening curfew, and reducing the size of public gatherings, though the committee is not recommending beach closures.

The recommendations were expected to be discussed by the National Coronavirus Command Council, which advises cabinet, in its Tuesday meeting.

SA is now on level 2 restrictions, which permit alcohol sales in line with liquor laws, impose a curfew between 11pm and 4am, and allow public gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.

The advisory says the government should urgently activate national, provincial and facility incident management teams, prepare surge-capacity hospital beds, and activate field hospitals in Gauteng, said MAC member Ian Sanne.

“The incidence rates in Gauteng are rising exponentially,” he said. “Gauteng is central, with travel to all provinces and neighbouring countries, providing a risk to destabilise healthcare across the region.”

by Amanda Khoza

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