By Ashok Ramsarup :: Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has announced several hotspots as South Africa heads towards Level 3 lockdown beginning on the 1 June. The Minister was following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement last week that the country would enter Level-3.
Speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria, Dlamini-Zuma made it abundantly clear that alcohol would not be sold on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, while cigarette bans were still in force. In a recent survey carried out by the University of Cape Town’s Research Unit on Economics of Excisable Product found that respondents had purchased cigarettes during the lockdown, but many smokers were unable to buy their favorite brand.
Dlamini-Zuma assured South Africans that the implementation of Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown from next week was determined through scientific advice from experts in various disciplines that were intended to re-open and encourage economic activity in the country that had been adversely affected through the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world by storm.
She said: “The aim of the intended re-opening of the economic hub is to have a viable economy after suffering 63 days lockdown.”
Dlamini-Zuma stated that while the entire country would move down to Level 3 lockdown, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay were among the hotspots because of Noval COVID-19 virus and now stricter measures would remain in place.
On the alcohol issue, Dlamini-Zuma said it would be permitted for sale from Monday to Thursday between 9 am and 5 pm. “E-Commerce sales of alcohol will also be permitted during these times. Gyms, restaurants, and bars will remain closed during Level-3,” she reaffirmed her standpoint on these issues.
The Minister made an impassioned plea to all South Africans who go out in public to wear masks and that sanitizers must be made available at public facilities and workplaces.
There have been mixed views on the re-opening of schools next week. Many parents and educators feel it’s not the right time for learners to be at school during the pandemic. But Dlamini-Zuma confirmed that exercise would be allowed all day during Level-3 of the lockdown.
Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa