Coronavirus: First SA deaths 'should be a wake-up call to all of us' - EFF

EFF leader Julius Malema
EFF leader Julius Malema
File, Gallo Images

The EFF has called on South Africans to take the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak seriously and has urged people to follow regulations put in place for the 21-day lockdown in the country, which started at midnight.

The party sent its condolences to the loved ones of the two South African women who died after contracting the virus.

READ | First Covid-19 deaths: We mourn as a province and country - Western Cape premier Alan Winde

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced in a statement on Friday that the women were both from the Western Cape. Mkhize also said the number of positive cases had surpassed the 1 000 mark.

"We urge all South Africans to adhere to the rules of the national lockdown, follow the precautionary measures set out by the Department of Health and to STAY AT HOME," EFF spokesperson Vuyani Pambo said in a statement.

Gender-based violence

The red berets also raised concern over companies that refused to allow their employees to stay home during the lockdown and called on them to "desist" and "shut down" operations.

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"These unfortunate deaths should be a wake-up call to all of us regarding the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, we should all be a part of preventing its spread," said Pambo.

READ: LOCKDOWN | Ramaphosa writes to Parliament, reveals 2 820 soldiers could be on SA's streets until June

The party also called on authorities, singling out the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), to be sensitive to challenges facing women, children and members of the LGBTQI+ community, asking for them to be treated with "care and respect".

"A well-known fact [is] that the police in this country don't have adequate training in dealing with gender-based violence and cases of rape. They must be sensitised to deal with cases of gender-based violence in the exceptional situation we find ourselves in," said Pambo.

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