- The Democratic Alliance has come out in firm opposition to the extension of the national lockdown
- Leader John Steenhuisen shifted away from the supportive stance on display and denounced the fact that the party had not been included in the decision
- Steenhuisen has put forward the DA's suggestions on how the nation should respond to the crisis
The Democratic Alliance has denounced the decision to extend the current national lockdown, dubbing it a 'big mistake'.
The opposition party is frustrated by what it views as a 'lack of accountability', with leader John Steenhuisen criticising the lack of remote Parliamentary meetings since the start of the lockdown.
Ramaphosa is making the wrong move as far as the DA is concerned, despite approval from the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Freedom Front Plus.
Steenhuisen feels that the economic crisis has the potential to threaten more lives than the coronavirus itself:
“Each death resulting from the virus is a tragedy. But so is each death resulting from caged citizens and frustrated law enforcers, and each malnourished child, and each newly unemployed South African. Lives are threatened by our economic and financial collapse as a result of further lockdown regulations.”
But how would the Democratic Alliance handle the pandemic if it feels Ramaphosa has gone to far? Instead of the strict lockdown implemented it would take a more gradual approach:
“We’d prefer a gradual phasing out of lockdown over the coming weeks, as opposed to a continuation of the severe and economically-crippling regulations we currently see. Our concern is that President Ramaphosa has justified this extension as if we face a binary choice between health concerns and economic concerns.”
Steenhuisen further elaborated that the list of 'essential goods' should be expanded to include clothing and other items.
Testing for the virus should be increased with a 'comprehensive system' put in place to test, track and trace cases.
Briefly.co.za reported that the DA had been seeking legal advice over the current BEE requirement for businesses to receive financial rescue, denouncing the 'racialised' relief effort.
The budget set aside to rescue financially crippled state-owned entities should be 'repurposed' and the public wage bill should be cut to 'reflect the struggles' facing citizens.
In addition to this, the DA highlighted the need for Parliament to find a way to meet remotely so that democracy can persevere even in the face of an emergency.
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