President Cyril Ramaphosa has outlined the next phase of South Africa’s COVID-19 strategy, which will focus on the recovery of the economy.
Speaking during a virtual parliament Q&A session on 18 June, Ramaphosa compared the projected state of the economy after the virus outbreak to a post-war economy.
“Given the massive impact that the coronavirus is having on jobs, our immediate priority is creating employment,” Ramaphosa said.
“I have often said that the post-COVID-19 economic landscape is similar to a post-war landscape.”
“We have to do the extraordinary. We will do this by embarking on a number of initiatives including expanding public employment, increasing investment in public infrastructure and enabling greater job creation in the private sector,” he said.
The government has planned various initiatives which will focus on expanding public employment and improving the state of the economy as the country emerges from the pandemic.
“The restructuring of our economy is a moment that we now need to grasp,” Ramaphosa said.
The president also acknowledged that corruption remains a major challenge in South Africa, adding that strong anti-corruption mechanisms will need to be put in place to protect the country’s R500 billion stimulus plan.
“We want to ensure that the money that has been set aside for COVID-19 relief is responsibly used and is used for what it is intended for.”
Lockdown rule changes
This session follows a statement by the president on the evening of 17 June which announced the easing of certain level 3 lockdown restrictions.
Ramaphosa said that following consultation with scientists and provincial governments, the cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on a number of economic activities.
The list of industries which will be allowed to return to operation includes restaurants, hotels, conferences and meetings, and cinemas.
Ramaphosa noted that the opening of these industries would be accommodated under the eased restrictions in line with the restrictions on public gatherings that remain in place.
The government will publish rules detailing the eased restrictions in the near future, he added.