No hard lockdown for SA, ANC NEC resolves amid rising Covid-19 infections

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
  • The ANC held its first NEC meeting of the year ahead of the January 8 statement.
  • The party's highest decision-making body between conferences has agreed not to impose another hard lockdown.
  • NEC members have also agreed that the economy is not fertile enough to allow another hard lockdown.

With speculation rife of another possible hard lockdown amid rising Covid-19 infection rates, the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) has said it has agreed the country cannot go back to a hard lockdown. 

ANC head of organising Nomvula Mokonyane said as much when she briefed the media a day after the party held its first NEC meeting.

"What was raised is that we all have to give the necessary support creating an environment that will not lead to a total shutdown of the economy. Meaning that we can't drive the country to a total shutdown, unless otherwise we have created alternatives – alternatives to what currently exist."

Mokonyane said government would have to identify parts of the economy that contribute to high virus exposure and the responsibility of the employer.

READ | Mkhize 'caught sleeping in the face of a deadly pandemic', says Cosatu on vaccine rollout

The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) held an urgent meeting on Wednesday as daily new infections surpassed the 20 000 mark. The health department announced that 844 deaths had been recorded on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 31 368.

Meetings of the NCCC are preceded by a meeting of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints), which consists of officials and operators who monitor the Covid-19 situation on the ground.

NCCC decisions are then tabled at Cabinet meetings, where these are deliberated before President Cyril Ramaphosa announces it to the nation.

To boost the economy during the current Level 3 lockdown, Mokonyane said government will look at alternative industries to allow small businesses "to share in the economy".

Mokonyane, who is in charge of the running of the ANC's January 8 celebrations, which will be held virtually, said the main event will be preceded by a host of events building up to Ramaphosa's address.

The NEC meeting, which mostly focused on the January 8 statement, was also attended by former presidents Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki.

"Provinces and regions throughout the country will be engaging in various social media watch parties ahead of the main address by Ramaphosa at 19:00. The main programme will be chaired by our national chairperson Gwede Mantashe from Luthuli House with the NEC, alliance partners and other fraternal parties, including invited guests and dignitaries, joining in virtually," she said.

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