Cape Town – Democratic Alliance (DA) federal council chairperson Helen Zille has claimed that the extension of the national State of Disaster has nothing to do with Covid-19, but an attempt by the government to maintain “centralised control”.
Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma extended the National State of Disaster by another month until the 15th of February.
The extension was granted in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
The Act empowers the Minister to extend a State of Disaster on a month-to-month basis once the first three months have expired.
“The extension takes into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state and all other role players to mitigate against the impact of the disaster on lives and livelihoods.
“All people are urged to continue adherence to Covid regulations. Everyone has to wear a face mask at all times, social distance, avoid closed and poorly ventilated spaces, large gatherings and wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer,” a statement said.
It will now be the 20th time that the State of Disaster is extended on a month-to-month basis, SABC reported.
Zille said it was time for the government to”call a halt”.
Extending the State of Disaster now has nothing to do with fighting Covid, and everything to do with maintaining centralised control without oversight or accountability. It is time to call a halt.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) January 15, 2022
“Extending the State of Disaster now has nothing to do with fighting Covid, and everything to do with maintaining centralised control without oversight or accountability. It is time to call a halt,” Zille tweeted on Saturday.
Last week DA leader John Steenhuisen also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to end the national State of Disaster, saying it was “no longer necessary” for managing the coronavirus.
Steenhuisen said that the State of Disaster was doing South Africa more harm than good.
“The state of disaster is no longer necessary for managing the virus. On the contrary, it is doing South Africa more harm than good, by undermining our social, economic and democratic recovery.
President Ramaphosa must allow the State of Disaster to lapse.
The SOD is no longer necessary for managing the virus.
On the contrary, it is doing SA more harm than good, by undermining our social, economic and democratic recovery.
Let’s get SA working. https://t.co/63NBuQ3LgS
— John Steenhuisen MP (@jsteenhuisen) January 11, 2022
“South Africa needs certainty. Investors need it, tourists need it, teachers need it, schoolchildren need it. Schoolchildren need to go to school full time. Not a couple of days a week.
“People need to know they can invest in businesses large or small without the rules of the game suddenly changing. Without investment, there will be no job creation and no sustainable poverty alleviation,” Steenhuisen said.
The government last month announced a relaxation in Covid-19 regulations, as it lifted the curfew in time for New Year’s Eve. It however, kept the State of Disaster, saying the risk of increased infections remained high.
“The curfew will be lifted. There will therefore be no restrictions on the hours of movement of people,” the presidency said at the time.
Picture: Getty Images
Compiled by Betha Madhomu
Additional reporting by AFP