President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country is on recovery mode and the focus was now on restructuring the economy.
The president addressed the nation on Wednesday night and cautioned about a possible second-wave as coronavirus cases have increased in certain parts of the country.
But it was probably the lifting of some restrictions which include the allowance of international travel and the return to normalcy for alcohol trading that may have caught citizens attention.
Ramaphosa explained that the lifting of restrictions on international travel as part of amending level 1 regulations and that this would be in line with health protocols. No country would be restricted from entry but a Covid-19 negative certificate was mandatory for entry into the country.
He said these measures would go a long way in assisting the tourism industry that had been heavily affected by a decrease in tourism.
Previously, the government had issued a regular list of countries whose citizens were restricted from entering SA.
Another notable part of the speech was the extension of the Covid-19 UIF scheme to October 15, 2020. The social distress grant had also been extended and will end at the end of January.
“Discussions continue with our social partners on support for businesses in distress going forward, mindful of the need to ensure that the UIF has sufficient funds to meet the anticipated rise in unemployment claims.
The Covid-19 UIF scheme has already paid out nearly R53 billion to over 4.7 million workers. These relief measures were necessary to protect those who are most vulnerable in a time of great distress, but they will have to come to an end,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa said the national state of disaster will be extended to December 15 to allow for measures to be taken to deal with rising infections.
The president said the focus was also on boosting economic recovery through infrastructure investment and attracting investment for the economy.
“We are focusing relentlessly on the implementation of our plan, pursuing a few priorities with the highest impact and ensuring that we deliver on these. Our infrastructure programme continues to gather pace, with the strong support of the private sector and development institutions.
Many programmes supported through the Presidential Employment Stimulus have already started, and recruitment for others has begun. Next week, we will be holding our third South Africa Investment Conference, which is an important indicator of the country’s continued value as an investment destination for both local and foreign investors.
The president also warned citizens that as the festive season was approaching, precaution had to be taken and people should adhere to guidelines on social gatherings and wearing masks.
Meanwhile, the DA’s John Steenhuisen has called on Ramaphosa to stop the fearmongering and economy bashing and to end the state of disaster.
It is incomprehensible that the state of disaster has been extended by yet another month. Government cannot keep managing South Africa around a single risk when our nation is so imperiled by far greater risks, such as poverty, hunger and unemployment,” he said
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