Areas worst hit by Covid-19 infections – Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal – may continue to experience a hard lockdown when this measure is phased out elsewhere, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.
Dlamini-Zuma addressed the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs on Tuesday via videoconference on the lockdown measures.
She said before the lockdown, the number of infections doubled every three days. Since the lockdown, the spread has been much slower.
A spike in infection rates is expected after the lockdown, but to mitigate against it, there will be a phased relaxation of the lockdown.
She added, though, that there might be localised lockdowns in the areas worst hit. This will be determined by the infection rates.
"The world has not seen anything like this since the Spanish flu of 1918," she said.
"We should not be overwhelmed. We should treat this as a challenge we should overcome, not a threat we should fear."
She said the lockdown measures have been implemented to flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections, so that the health service isn't overwhelmed.
She said this is a situation the country hasn’t been in before and, as the lockdown continued, they found things that they didn't expect - and that is why there have been amendments to the original regulations.
"When we see an issue that needs to be resolved, we resolve it," she said.
She added that big gatherings were going to be prohibited for some time.
"If you go back to big gatherings, you just undo everything that has been done."
Dlamini-Zuma also said evictions may not happen during the lockdown.
Deputy Minister Obed Bapela said a ban on initiation ceremonies was in the works.
Traditional leaders in all provinces, except the Eastern Cape, had already agreed to suspend initiations.