The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has adopted a lukewarm response to the extraordinary measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to contain the spread of coronavirus in South Africa.
In a statement on Monday, the party suggested that the travel bans announced by Ramaphosa on Sunday will not be effective.
It said, “It is apparent to us that the South African state under the leadership of the governing party is unable to institute effective travel bans due to its lack of independence.”
The EFF added, “It is because we are unable as a country to produce our own cars, washing rags, houses and clothes that we cannot institute bans on nations plagued by coronavirus.”
It also criticised the government’s “slow” response to the crisis, adding that although there is now a state of national disaster in place, “exposure to the virus within the country has already gained expression.”
However, other opposition parties largely welcomed the measures announced by Ramaphosa, which also included closure of dozens of land and sea ports. Gatherings of more than 100 people have also been prohibited.
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said, “Now, more than ever, we must put politics aside if we are going to succeed in the fight against COVID-19.”
Water and sanitation
GOOD Secretary General Brett Herron added, “Our country is called upon to act in solidarity with each other and in pursuit of the common purpose.”
Inaktha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa also said, “The IFP echoes the plea of President Ramaphosa for all South Africans to take urgent and extraordinary preventative efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to desist from spreading fake news and misinformation.”
Nevertheless, he said Ramphosa should have addressed the challenge of inadequate water and sanitation in many townships and rural areas.
This is because without water, South Africans living in these areas would be unable to maintain the level of hygiene that Ramaphosa encouraged in his address to the nation.
The President confirmed that there are now 61 cases of coronavirus in South Africa, most of them relating to people who had travelled abroad.
However, he said there are now new cases of internal transmission, a situation that required “extraordinary measures.”