Cyril Ramaphosa defends lockdown rules as public anger mounts

Cyril Ramaphosa defends lockdown rules as public anger mounts

President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended lockdown rules imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus as citizens grow increasingly irked over seemingly illogical restrictions.

The government instituted one of the world’s most severe lockdowns from 25 March, allowing most citizens to leave their homes only to buy food, seek medical care and collect welfare grants. While the rules were eased this month, bans on the sale of alcohol, tobacco, books and many other products were retained, a night-time curfew was imposed and outdoor exercise was restricted to a three-hour window.

South Africa has confirmed 6 783 coronavirus cases thus far, and 131 who were infected have died. While the lockdown has been very successful in helping contain the disease’s spread, the danger hasn’t passed and the rules need to be eased gradually, Ramaphosa said.

“Every regulation we have put in place has been carefully considered,” he said. “It is better to err on the side of caution than to pay the devastating price of a lapse in judgment in future.”

While there were differences of opinion within the cabinet over some of the regulations, all decisions were taken collectively and it was wrong to suggest that ministers were doing and saying whatever they wanted, the president said.  — Reported by Mike Cohen, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP