In its virtual Caucus meeting held today, 9 May 2020, the ANC Caucus said it condemned in the strongest terms the “ill-timed and irrational” calls by the DA for the Lockdown to end.
The ANC Caucus said in a statement on Saturday evening that the “levels of incitement by the DA Leader and calls for civil disobedience” cannot go unchallenged and remain “reckless and childish”.
“Politicizing COVID–19 interventions smacks of high levels of political immaturity and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve,” said ANC Chief Whip, Pemmy Majodina.
The ANC says it is of the firm view that the right to life and dignity are the most important of all human rights and the source of all other personal rights.
“These Lockdown measures have been taken in the paramount interest of ensuring the preservation of life, an issue that does not seem to matter to the DA,” said the statement.
DA Leader John Steenhuisen said in a hard-hitting speech this week that lockdown rather than Covid-19 had become South Africa’s crisis.
Steenhuisen accused a small group of government ministers of controlling SA’s future with irrational laws (including bans on smoking and drinking) without explaining their actions. He said the government was keeping the country under lockdown with no end date in sight, which businesses so desperately need.
The initial five weeks of lockdown were meant to prepare the hospitals and the healthcare workers for the spike in infections that was coming, said Steenhuisen.
“We know this wave is coming, lockdown or not,” he said. “We also know our economy could only withstand a very limited freeze. This is why lockdown originally had an end date.”
The ANC Caucus in Parliament said it strongly believes that over the past five weeks, most South Africans have adhered to the Lockdown regulations and as a result, the country has managed to slow the spread of the virus.
The ANC berated the opposition party for undermining the Nation’s efforts at a time when President Ramaphosa and the government require the support of all citizens.
The ANC Caucus said South Africa cannot afford to lower its guard.
“We thus call for sanity to prevail within the ranks of the Democratic Alliance and for its Leader to desist from making calls that are short-sighted when the moment requires calm heads and decisive leadership.
“We must continue to stick to the World Health Organization preventative measures and refuse to be side-tracked by reckless politicking that does not value lives,” said the statement.
So far over 3.4 million people across the world are known to be infected and more than 240,000 have died, said the ANC.
“Here in South Africa, we have just over 180 casualties, yet to the DA this is an opportunity to end the Lockdown… yet current scientific modelling show that the infection rate will continue to rise at a much faster rate in the coming months. We are also mindful that dozens of other countries have imposed curfews such as the one that is currently in place in South Africa.
The ANC Caucus believes it would be suicidal to end the lockdown now
“The ANC Caucus believes it would be suicidal to end the lockdown now. As the ANC Caucus, we trust in the abilities of South Africans to stay on course and not be side- tracked.
“The challenges imposed by Covid-19 global challenge are far–reaching,” said the ANC statement.
The ANC warned that the DA’s “misleading” statements could undo the good efforts and take South Africa back to the brink.
“For its part, the leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen, must focus on what is happening in the Western Cape and must not mislead the country.
“We thus urge all peace loving and patriotic South Africans to stay focused on the bigger goal of flattening the curve and saving lives,” the ANC said.