DA calls on the private sector to do more to help contain Covid-19

 Interim leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen. Picture: Supplied/ Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
Interim leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen. Picture: Supplied/ Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

The DA has called on the private sector to do more to help South Africans amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Interim DA leader John Steenhuisen made the call during a media briefing on Tuesday when the party announced supplementary Covid-19 measures to be implemented by the DA where it governs.

Steenhuisen said telecommunications companies “such as Telkom and MTN should offer free data to students who because of the effects of the virus are now forced to self-isolate and study from home”.

He also appealed to South Africans not to engage in panic buying “which may lead in price hikes” during this uncertain period.

He urged retailers not to take advantage of the situation and start hiking prices as they also have a responsibility to maintain calm and order.

The DA also called on government to suspend plans to bail out the SAA and other state-owned enterprises and rather direct these funds towards this crisis.

Steenhuisen said his party was in full support of the drastic measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the weekend to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Trust and cooperation will be essential in ensuring the health and safety of our people. It is safe to say that we in the midst of full-blown national crisis implications of which will be very devastating to our economy and ultimately our future as a country especially given that the country was already on a precarious financial position before Covid-19.”

He added: “The DA has already committed its support against the spread of Covid-19 and is working side by side with the government to stop the spread of the virus and to ensure the safety of each person.

“We support the number of drastic steps that the president has announced,” said Steenhuisen.

This comes after the EFF lambasted Ramaphosa over what the party called his “indecisive and delayed” response to the pandemic.

Read: Covid-19: Ramaphosa announces ‘urgent, drastic’ measures

The DA leader, however, said he has directed DA members “is to reach across the aisle to their opposite numbers on government benches, and indicate their availability to collaborate and give any assistance required” as the country battles to contain the virus.

As part of its supplementary Covid-19 measures, the DA announced that it had allowed its “none essential staff members to work from home”.

The party has also suspended leadership campaigns and postponed its policy conference until further notice and its elective conferences until October. 

Steenhuisen confirmed that the much-anticipated election of the new DA leader to replace Mmusi Maimane had also been postponed.

Read: Should SA use UIF to fund Covid-19 effort? Cosatu, Busa say yes

The DA also called on government to suspend plans to bail out the SAA and other state-owned enterprises and rather direct these funds towards this crisis.

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone also called for the stringent adherence to hygiene measures, particularly for MPs who will have to travel from different provinces to Cape Town and back to their constituencies.

Mazzone said if they were infected they would drastically spread the virus.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato also assure residents in the Mother City that his administration has already put in place a task team to help contain the pandemic.


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