It is nearly a month after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be progressing to alert level 2 of the lockdown. The declaration undoubtedly came with a series of amended regulations, including the lift on tobacco and alcohol sales, to name but a few. However, what also proved to be a bone of contention was the curfew.
Ramaphosa has said the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) was still weighing its options and assessing the feasibility of moving to level 1 and the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize has said that by all indications, South Africa was ready to open more of the economy.
Under level 2, people are only allowed to move around between 22:00 and 04:00 every day. The only exception is people traveling to and from work (who would need to be in possession of a permit issued by their employer) and those attending to a medical emergency.
With most sectors being allowed to operate, albeit under certain restrictions, it is highly likely that the curfew will be dropped completely. One of the industries to take into account, in that respect, is nightclubs, which remain closed. The clubbing scene is unlikely to thrive under a curfew and with the industry losing money by the day and others losing jobs, government could be left with no choice but to ease restrictions yet again.
DA: The curfew is senseless
The Democratic Alliance (DA), which have long criticised the government’s handling of the global pandemic and the lockdown, takes issue over curfew and other regulations and have called for heads to roll.
“They’ve paralysed our economy for five months based on wrong information and heads must roll…with regards to the remaining restrictions, the ban on international travel, the senseless curfew and limited school attendance – these must be lifted immediately,” Steenhuisen said.
The Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola had warned that law enforcement agencies would be manning the country’s roads during the late hours, mainly to ensure that the curfew is adhered to. Lamola also said they would grill citizens roaming around without a sound explanation.
“During the day there are many other things which could be done which may not really need a permit – like going to the mall or going to the doctor to consult…,” he said.
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