His address flows from the recent deliberations he was part of with Cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council, and the National Economic Development and Labour Council, among others.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Tuesday evening on the additional economic and social relief measures that will form part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic going forward.
He told the country that experts had told him that the outbreak was still in only its early stages.
The president focused on the economic responses government is taking and will take to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic.
He said it was now time to embark on the second phase of interventions to stabilize the economy, save jobs and businesses.
Ramaphosa said R500 billion would be spent – about 10% of the country’s GDP.
The third phase was about getting the economy going and growing again, and said the outline of this plan would be delivered in days to come, including how the phased reopening of the country would occur.
He said R500 billion would be spent to fight the epidemic, with the money coming from both local and international sources. The World Bank, African Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, New Development Bank had all been approached. R20 billion would immediately need to be spent on health measures.
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In his weekly letter to the nation yesterday, Ramaphosa offered a frank assessment of the current situation nearly a month into the lockdown imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19.
He said government chose to “err on the side of caution” when implementing state of disaster measures that critics have said have inflicted more damage than necessary to the economy. His letter strongly hinted at the possibility that many people will be allowed to return to various jobs at the end of April when the extension of the lockdown ends.
The president admitted that the inequalities and hunger being highlighted by the coronavirus outbreak are not just because of the apartheid past but because of a “fundamental failing in our post-apartheid society”.
He promised that he would shortly provide more clarity on the direct measures that will be taken to ensure that the most vulnerable South Africans don’t have to worry about where their next meal may be coming from.
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Source: The Citizen