- Julius Malema has once again taken on President Cyril Ramaphosa, this time directly
- While the President gave oral replies to National Assembly questions, the EFF leader took the gloves off
- Malema insists that the government has thrown all scientific advice to the wind and is chasing profits instead
Julius Malema has probably never been Cyril Ramaphosa's biggest fan, but the EFF leader has definitely been bolder at displaying his displeasure.
During a virtual sitting of the National Assembly, Malema was hot on Ramaphosa's heels, demanding to know if the way the lockdown is being handled was informed by scientific evidence.
Ramaphosa defended the government, insisting that a slew of experts have been providing advice every step of the way:
"Our response to the coronavirus pandemic has been informed by the advice of our scientists, made up of members of the advisory committee. There are 51 scientists of various diverse disciplines. It has also been underpinned by experiences of other countries and the guidance we have received from bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Africa Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention."
But Malema wasn't impressed, pointing out that the World Health Organisation had clearly indicated infections must be declining before restrictions could be eased.
To which, Ramaphosa responded that SA had gone into the lockdown far earlier than other countries:
"The committee noted that some of the WHO criteria may not be proper for South Africa. Unlike several other countries, South Africa deliberately implemented a lockdown early in the progression of the disease in a strategy to delay transmission. We did this knowing that we will not be able to bring transmissions under control by the time we had to, to ease the lockdown. It would give us the time that we needed to strengthen our health system."
But to this, Malema made it clear he wasn't buying what the President was trying to sell:
"We are more than convinced that we are not following any scientific advice. You are following business to maximise profits all the time. You are sitting comfortably in your home and you tell children to go to school. Do you have any advice how many people are going to die of this pandemic? Or are we just going about as usual with no anticipating of what are the expected infections and deaths within a particular time. You are chasing only profits."
Briefly.co.za reported that the EFF had earlier condemned both Ramaphosa and the call to relax lockdown restrictions in an equally unsatisfied statement.
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