President Cyril Ramaphosa was questioned by MPs about the lockdown in a virtual Parliament yesterday, Thursday 18 June 2020.
Ramaphosa has maintained that although the lockdown in South Africa is one of the hardest in the world, it helped flatten the curve significantly.
MPs questioned Ramaphosa on some of the regulations and bans and questioned whether they have been effective.
He was asked to clarify on what basis the decisions to open schools, relax alcohol sales, and maintain the prohibition on tobacco were made.
Ramaphosa said all decisions were made on a risk assessment basis after consultations with various stakeholders.
Adding that the decisions also came about as a result of government’s need to balance, protecting the health of citizens with other key issues such as the economy and educational needs.
Unions have opposed government’s decision to reopen schools arguing that this has placed learners and teachers at risk of contracting the coronavirus.
“With schooling – we didn’t want to see the country losing a year of school. So we approached the Medical Advisory Council and asked, how can we make this happen?” he said.
The result was that protective measures and protocols have been put in place – and where they have not, those schools should not open.
Ramaphosa said that the coronavirus virus is going to be with South Africa for a long time, “possibly for years”, so risk-adjustment based decisions needed to be taken.