Ramaphosa 'wants to lock us up again' - Malema slams lockdown regulations, demands vaccines

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Julius Malema has maintained his defiance of government's efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, saying they are opposed to any lockdown measures in the absence of a viable vaccine roll-out programme.
Julius Malema has maintained his defiance of government's efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, saying they are opposed to any lockdown measures in the absence of a viable vaccine roll-out programme.
Gallo Images/Laird Forbes
  • Julius Malema has slammed government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • He says the EFF is opposed to the lockdown regulations and any possible move to a a higher alert level.  
  • The party accused the government of gambling with the lives of people, hence their march to Sahpra.

EFF leader Julius Malema has maintained his defiance of government's efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, saying they are opposed to any lockdown measures in the absence of a viable vaccine roll-out programme. 

Malema said on Tuesday that he was aware that President Cyril Ramaphosa was considering moving the country back to Level 5 of the lockdown for 21 days. 

WATCH | Malema to Motshekga: Close schools within 7 days or 'we'll close them ourselves'

While Malema made these claims during a television interview, Ramaphosa told journalists that it might be necessary for the government's National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to review the lockdown level in the country.

Malema said the government was gambling with the lives of South Africans and that it was high time the issue of the vaccine rollout programme was taken seriously in order to save lives.

He said:

Let me tell you, I heard you saying Gauteng is looking at going back to Level 5. Not Gauteng... the man is looking at taking us back to Level 5 for 21 days, if you don’t know. That is what he is considering. The president is considering taking us to Level 5 for 21 days. He wants to lock us up again for 21 days. We are not going back there.

The country has been grappling with a Covid-19 third wave of infections, experiencing a rise in new cases and dwindling hospital bed capacity. 

Gauteng still remains the hardest hit, as the province moves towards an expected Covid-19 third wave peak.

Malema, who was speaking to Xoli Mngambi of Newzroom Afrika on Tuesday, said the EFF would not allow Ramaphosa to rule the country in a "dictatorial" manner.

READ | SA's vaccine train limps into Soweto after cable theft delays arrival

His remarks come ahead of the EFF's planned protest on Friday against the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) and government, demanding Covid-19 vaccines.

On Monday, the country recorded 9 160 new cases, with 2 144 204 people having been vaccinated. Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country to Level 3 lockdown restrictions.  

However, the EFF said it was calling on all political parties and civil society formations to join the March. It wanted the government to include Sputnik-V and Sinovac vaccines in its rollout program.

READ | Ramaphosa accuses Big Pharma of 'selfish, unjust' vaccine policy

"We are not going to allow Cyril Ramaphosa to gamble with the lives of our people. The president is vaccinated. Prominent people are vaccinated, hence they don’t care about our people," Malema said.

Artists and church leaders also needed to be vaccinated, he added.

Malema insisted that the EFF would be thanked later, after its protest action at the Sahpra offices, claiming it would lead to enough doses being made available for the people of the country.

"I’m looking to saving the lives of our people. The more people you vaccine, the more the economy is going open, more jobs are going to be created.

"The youth of this country is unemployed - they can’t even go out to look for jobs because they are told, stay at home there’s a lockdown. We have given the president enough time to do his work. He has not done his work," he said

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