President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation this week as the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa continue to rise.
Speaking on SABC News, Leanne Manas said Ramaphosa confirmed this at an event over the weekend.
“He said it is now long overdue for him to address the nation and it will be coming up this week,” said Manas.
The latest statistics show that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is 715,868, a rise of 1,622 from the day before.
What is of concern is that the average number of new daily cases was 1,219 between 25 September and 1 October.
This has increased to 1,706 between 16 and 22 October, a trend which has raised concerns among government officials, including KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala.
He warned that the return to a hard lockdown was on the cards unless there is a decline in the number of cases.
“Looking at the statistics, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour,” said Zikalala.
He said a second wave of COVID-19 will be “stronger and deadlier” – not only in deaths, but also in terms of economic hardship.
Zikalala urged businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry, to adhere to level 1 lockdown regulations.
“There is no use in chasing profits today, only to be shut down by a hard lockdown tomorrow,” he said.
He zoned in a the “reckless trading in alcohol” which has the “potential to derail all the progress we have made in preparing our healthcare system for a potential onslaught of COVID-19”.
“We cannot tolerate that, and therefore our inspectors will be going out in full force to enforce the law,” he said.
Mangaung metro spokesperson Qondile Khedama reiterated Zikalala’s call for entertainment businesses to be “very sensitive” as that is where they have picked up problems.
Free State health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi also said the country needs to prevent the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“People have dropped their guard. They have stopped wearing masks with integrity,” he said.