- President Ramaphosa has held yet another imbizo on Wednesday to engage with SA
- Ramaphosa took questions from the public over the Covid-19 pandemic
- Callers asked the president about the liquor and tobacco ban, schools reopening and jobs
President Cyril Ramaphosa held another imbizo on Wednesday evening to engage with the public amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Welcoming the opportunity to hear from citizens, Ramaphosa said that SA had become a Covid-19 'hotspot':
"We started off by doing the lockdown. We did ours quite early, and... it exerted a lot of pressure on our people, but it was necessary, because if we hadn't the spate of infections would have been a lot higher."
One caller asked Ramaphosa about the impact of the pandemic on jobs in the country, a critical situation.
Ramaphosa reminded SA that the UIF had set aside relief funding, with the government establishing a fund for businesses and a loan scheme had been put into place:
"We are not going to ignore those people who've lost jobs. We are committed to focusing our efforts on an economic recovery."
Multiple callers had touched upon the tobacco and liquor ban, with Ramaphosa insisting that the prohibition was not permanent and had been based on advice from leading experts.
When asked about the reopening of schools amid the pandemic, Ramaphosa assured SA that the greatest care was being taken to make the right call.
The president acknowledged that the matter was currently being debated, noting that the World Health Organisation itself had called for schools to close if infections were climbing.
One caller asked why schools were allowed to open at a time when social gatherings of over 50 people were prohibited.
Ramaphosa explained that classrooms and campus' were not seen as a gathering, with caution taken to ensure social distancing was taking place.
Briefly.co.za reported that the Department of Education had responded to SADTU's call for schools to immediately close amid increasing infections.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, the Department defended the decision to reopen schools amid the pandemic:
"One of the main reasons for the phased-in reopening of schools was to make sure the unfettered right to basic education for all children is equitably provided. During Alert Levels 5 and 4 of the national lockdown, most children from the most rural and remote areas of the country, especially learners from quintiles 1-3 schools, could not access any form of online teaching and learning."
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