Covid-19: Steenhuisen slams lockdown, calls for it to be lifted

Covid-19: Steenhuisen slams lockdown, calls for it to be lifted

- The Democratic Alliance has broken rank and called for an end to the national lockdown

- Leader John Steenhuisen has withdrawn his support of the lockdown, criticising regulations

- Steenhuisen insists that continuing the lockdown will cost more lives than the virus itself

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Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen has called for the current Covid-19 national lockdown to end.

The opposition leader says he is withdrawing support of President Cyril Ramaphosa's lockdown and levied criticism against it instead.

“The real tragedy playing out here is no longer the coronavirus, but the lockdown itself because this lockdown is going to cost many more lives than it can possibly save."

Steenhuisen insists that there is simply nothing to be gained by keeping the current plan of action.

“This is a hard truth to speak and it is even harder to hear. But it must be spoken. We have to end the lockdown crisis, and we have to do it now. There is very little for us to gain and almost everything to lose by keeping people at home and keeping businesses shut any longer."

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The politician acknowledged that the initial reason for the shutdown was to buy time for the health care system to brace itself for the influx of cases, but Steenhuisen says that SA is now risking citizens breaking lockdown regulations.

These restrictions, in Steenhuisen's view, were petty irrational and authoritarian in nature.

“There is no rational argument for the continued ban on cigarettes, or alcohol for that matter. We have seen announcements from ministers on keeping sectors of the economy shut that have nothing to do with halting the spread of the virus."

The DA is intending to challenge the lockdown in the High Court, with Steenhuisen continuing.

“Mr President, by creating this lockdown crisis, you have broken your sacred compact with the people of South Africa. You have weaponised our trust in you and turned it against us. Instead of trusting us back, you have devastated lives and livelihoods through brutality and coercion."

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