Muted opposition reaction to latest Covid-19 restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay metro

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  • DA leader John Steenhuisen welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that only Covid-19 hotspots would face stricter regulations.
  • The DA says it has faith in the Western Cape government's efforts to contain the further spread of the coronavirus along the Garden Route.
  • UDM leader Bantu Holomisa called on the public to police those who walk around maskless.

There has been little of the usual criticism from opposition parties to President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on Thursday night that the Nelson Mandela Bay metro would be facing stricter Covid-19 regulations amid a resurgence of infections.

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DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement his party welcomed the fact that Ramaphosa "has resisted the temptation to return the country - or parts thereof - to a higher level of lockdown".

Following his party's earlier criticism about the economic damage of a strict lockdown, Steenhuisen said: "It would appear that lessons about the ineffectiveness and destructiveness of lockdowns have finally been learnt, albeit nine months too late."

He said behavioural changes could help prevent the spread of the virus but called for stricter law enforcement where this was not the case.

READ | Covid-19 resurgence: Ramaphosa announces stricter lockdown for Nelson Mandela Bay

He also urged South Africans to comply with restrictions on gatherings, adding that allowing 250 people at indoor gatherings on the Level 1 lockdown was irresponsible.

"Numbers and close contact matter more than anything else, so this has to be a holiday season with a difference," he said.

"People need to keep any social contact to a minimum, on a small scale and outside where possible."

COVAX vaccine initiative

He said the DA had "full confidence in the preparation and capacity" of the Western Cape government, which the party controls, to identify and contain further outbreaks and hotspots on the Garden Route "this crucial holiday season".

He also urged government to make payment to the COVAX vaccine initiative so that it could book a spot in the queue to secure the vaccine. The government missed the initial payment deadline.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, whose party has its strongest support in the Eastern Cape, said the people of the province should comply with the new regulations.

He added that South Africa should use its bilateral relationships with other countries, like Russia and the US, to secure access to Covid-19 vaccines "so that those areas which have been affected and identified as hotspots immediately get the vaccine".

Holomisa said ordinary members of the public should police the behaviour of others in complying with Covid-19 regulations.

He said they should tell people who don't wear masks to go home.

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