The DA has today called on President Ramaphosa to end the curfew before New Year’s Eve.
« Hospitalisation rates are low across the country. Omicron has proved to be far milder than past variants. Meantime, vaccines have proven to be extremely effective at protecting against severe disease and death, so those in the high-risk group have had ample opportunity to opt for personal protection, » said DA Leader John Steenhuisen in a statement on Tuesday.
« The real crisis now is the state of the economy and widespread suffering from loss of livelihoods. »
The DA has never supported the curfew, claiming it was never found to be a « rational or justifiable denial of freedom », despite hospital staff in South Africa noting last year that hospital beds were at least not being filled with patients from drink driving and violent alcohol-induced incidents after midnight.
« Ending the curfew is an easy and logical way to boost the economy, » says Steenhuisen, « particularly the restaurant and events industry, which are major employers and have taken huge strain and made immense sacrifices during the pandemic. »
He said national morale needs a boost too, and that anyway, « most people aren’t observing curfew ».
Steenhuisen says: « This underscores the irrationality of the curfew, which is doing more harm than good by undermining the rule of law. Are the police going to arrest people celebrating New Year’s Eve? Law enforcement should be focused on preventing drunk driving and real criminality, not curfew, so that law-abiding people can safely usher in the New Year. »