President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks about South Africa’s transition to top-level

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks about South Africa’s transition to top-level

The country could move to Level 2 in the week if Cabinet accepts a recommendation from directors-general to open more sectors of the economy.

A forum made from directors-general of national departments (Fouad), met on Sunday where it had been resolved to recommend to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), that nearly all sectors of the economy be opened except crowded places, but under strict enforcement of social distancing, hand sanitization and the wearing of masks.

If their recommendation is accepted by the NCCC and endorsed by Cabinet, President Cyril Ramaphosa could address the state before the top of the week to speak the move to Level 2.

TimesLIVE understands from two people that attended the meeting on Sunday that the dominant view amongst directors-general was that the economy had taken a battering which more sectors should be opened to fireside it up again.

“The conversation was that if we don’t open more sectors of the economy, there’s getting to be more damage,” said a director-general who asked to not be named.

Another attendee said there have been robust discussions about the lockdown and therefore the safest ways to open more sectors. He said workstreams of the directors-general forum had interacted with the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints), which coordinates all security and enforcement operations within the country, to advise on how best the country could open up more as long as infection rates were steadying, and therefore the virus was being contained.

NatJoints includes the police, the army, intelligence services, and therefore the Department of Health, among others.

The NCCC met on Tuesday to debate recommendations from the directors-general and other structures on the way forward. Its decisions need to be endorsed by Cabinet.

Contacted on Wednesday, Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams refused to comment, saying discussions within the NCCC and Cabinet were highly confidential.

“If it’s not been cleared, I can’t mention it,” she said.

Presidential spokesperson Tyrone Seale was unable to right away indicate when the President would address the country, saying he needed to collect more information before he could comment.

South Africa, which has thus far recorded 566 000 infections and 10 000 deaths, has enforced one among the strictest lockdowns in its battle against Covid-19. This includes prohibiting the sale of alcohol and tobacco and enforcing a night-time curfew.

The industry has gone to court to undertake and overturn the ban on sales, while the alcohol industry has implored the govt to permit it to resume sales under certain conditions, including limited trading hours and rationing the quantity of liquor that individuals can buy.

Top players like SA Breweries and Heineken announced that they were putting on ice investments worth billions of Rands as a result of not being allowed to trade. The hospitality industry is additionally pleading to be allowed to work fully so as to save lots of thousands of companies and jobs.