Cyril Ramaphosa has been largely praised for the solemn address he had to deliver on Monday night after he announced the country would be going into lockdown this week due to coronavirus. Although we’ve now been left with a slight hiccup – for a brief period overnight, no-one was exactly sure what time the shut-down would start.
In his speech, the president explained that the planned lockdown would begin at midnight on Thursday. That sounds good on the surface, but we’ve developed a little “white and gold/blue and black dress” debate here
Some people believe that midnight on Thursday refers to the first minute of Thursday – essentially, passing over from 23:59 on Wednesday. Others, however, interpret it to mean the first minute of Friday morning. The debate has raged online, and the Head of Digital Communications in the Presidency has had to step in.
Athi Geleba has confirmed that South Africa’s three-week lockdown will officially begin on Thursday night, heading into Friday morning: The official time given is 23:59 on Thursday 26 March, for the avoidance of doubt. The last day of lockdown will be Thursday 16 April, all being well. The clarification comes as we start to see larger increases in the amount of coronavirus cases being reported in South Africa. We’ve gone up by 152 in the past 24 hours, taking our total to 554. There are still no deaths to report, as of 10:45 on Tuesday 24 March. Mkhize also explained…
— Athi Geleba 🇿🇦 (@AthiGeleba) March 24, 2020
“Our people need to understand that while there are a few issues around the lockdown…these are important issues to support the health of our nation. It helps us to reduce large numbers of people moving. But does not mean on its own it solves problem. The issue is getting serious and we must self-isolate
“Things like the hygiene of blocking your nose and mouth when you cough remains important. Now the people must reduce the risk between themselves – when we say this is a combat zone, we need to know we all still have a role to play and we need to see people take individual responsibility.
In other news – The role of SANDF during lockdown
The army will be deployed to support the South African Police Service to enforce the nationwide lockdown. President Cyril Ramaphhosa announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from midnight on Thursday.
Military analyst Helmoed Heitman said the role of SANDF members could vary, depending on the assistance needed by the police. They have been talking about closing down parts of the road network, to prevent people from moving much. For instance, the army could man vehicle checkpoints. Read more