End the national economic lockdown now, Mr President

Please co-sign DA Leader, John Steenhuisen’s, letter to President Ramaphosa urging him to end the nation-wide economic lockdown (and the economic crisis it is creating) and allow South Africans to go safely back to work

The nation-wide economic lockdown we all once supported is now costing more lives than it can hope to save. Last week, DA Leader, John Steenhuisen, wrote to President Ramaphosa urging him to end the nation-wide economic lockdown and, most recently, he announced that the DA would be taking court action.

Please show your support by co-signing DA Leader, John Steenhuisen’s, letter to President Ramaphosa urging him to end the economic lockdown (and the economic crisis it is creating) and allow South Africans to go safely back to work.

Dear President Ramaphosa,

We all want South Africa and her people to succeed, and it is heart-breaking to see so many suffering in these difficult times. So, to save lives and livelihoods, the undersigned South Africans and I urge you to end the economic lockdown now and allow South Africans to go safely back to work.

The economic lockdown is doing more harm than good and will cost more lives than it can possibly save. It is generating long-term poverty which will reduce South Africa’s life-expectancy and destroy millions of lives. National Treasury estimates unemployment will go up by 30-70% – that means adding between three and seven million MORE people to the millions who were already desperate for work before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

South Africa needs to get back to work, but with safety measures in place to slow the spread of the virus. The economic lockdown must end immediately and we must help South Africans go safely back to work with these protocols in place:

  1. Roll out wide-spread, randomised testing to identify where the virus is flaring up – then enforce localised lockdowns to contain it.
  2. Put protocols for mask-wearing, handwashing and screening in place.
  3. Encourage or assist those at high-risk to isolate themselves.
  4. Provide a reasonable set of safety regulations for businesses.

The purpose of the economic lockdown was to delay the virus spreading, not to eliminate the virus. Specifically, the purpose was to buy time to gather healthcare resources and prepare hospitals. It is impossible to eliminate the virus. Even if we lock down for a year, the virus will still be there when we go back to work. A peak in cases is INEVITABLE in the coming months.

The current Level 4 is as bad as Level 5 was, with massive military deployment, civilian abuses, and no specified end date. It is one of the world’s longest and harshest lockdowns. Unlike other governments with long lockdowns, the South African government is not providing the safety net to poor people and small businesses, so millions of people are starving and hundreds of thousands of businesses are going bankrupt.

Mr President, I ask that you trust us all and justify the rules as the decisions made by government have been secretive and irrational, with nothing to do with public safety or coronavirus.

If the government doesn’t end this economic lockdown, people will end it for them. In fact, this is already happening. When rules are irrational, people tend to break them – not because the people are bad, but because the rules are bad. The current lockdown is forcing poor people to choose between going hungry or breaking the law. It is giving them no choice but to break the law.

Mr President, I urge you to face up to the serious situation confronting us: end the nation-wide economic lockdown and allow South Africans to go safely back to work.

You’ll know that we have already instructed our lawyers to challenge the discriminatory use of the coronavirus emergency relief fund. It isn’t right for government to exclude citizens from this relief based on their, or their employer’s, race and other arbitrary criteria.

We also petitioned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make any funds obtained from them by the South African government conditional on non-racial use, or any other arbitrary criteria.

And most recently, our lawyers filed papers in the High Court challenging the rationality of three separate lockdown-related issues: the night curfew, the ban on e-commerce and the restriction on exercise hours.

Together with the undersigned South Africans, I believe that all three of these decisions should be immediately reversed, as there are no rational justifications for a military-enforced curfew, a restriction on e-commerce business and a limited 3-hour window for exercise.

We also wish to challenge the constitutionality of having the National Command Council take these irrational decisions as they please, without any checks and balances! If we let them get away with this, Mr President, our democracy will find itself on a very slippery slope.

President Ramaphosa, we call on you to listen to our concerns and trust us.

Every single business that can safely open must be allowed to open NOW so that people can get back to work and feed their families. That is the only way we will ensure that, once we have defeated this virus, we have a country left to rebuild.

 

Regards,

John Steenhuisen
DA Leader

16394 supporters

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The nation-wide economic lockdown we all once supported is now costing more lives than it can hope to save. Last week, DA Leader, John Steenhuisen, wrote to President Ramaphosa urging him to end the nation-wide economic lockdown and, most recently, he announced that the DA would be taking court action.

Please show your support by co-signing DA Leader, John Steenhuisen’s, letter to President Ramaphosa urging him to end the economic lockdown (and the economic crisis it is creating) and allow South Africans to go safely back to work.

Dear President Ramaphosa,

We all want South Africa and her people to succeed, and it is heart-breaking to see so many suffering in these difficult times. So, to save lives and livelihoods, the undersigned South Africans and I urge you to end the economic lockdown now and allow South Africans to go safely back to work.

The economic lockdown is doing more harm than good and will cost more lives than it can possibly save. It is generating long-term poverty which will reduce South Africa’s life-expectancy and destroy millions of lives. National Treasury estimates unemployment will go up by 30-70% – that means adding between three and seven million MORE people to the millions who were already desperate for work before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

South Africa needs to get back to work, but with safety measures in place to slow the spread of the virus. The economic lockdown must end immediately and we must help South Africans go safely back to work with these protocols in place:

  1. Roll out wide-spread, randomised testing to identify where the virus is flaring up – then enforce localised lockdowns to contain it.
  2. Put protocols for mask-wearing, handwashing and screening in place.
  3. Encourage or assist those at high-risk to isolate themselves.
  4. Provide a reasonable set of safety regulations for businesses.

The purpose of the economic lockdown was to delay the virus spreading, not to eliminate the virus. Specifically, the purpose was to buy time to gather healthcare resources and prepare hospitals. It is impossible to eliminate the virus. Even if we lock down for a year, the virus will still be there when we go back to work. A peak in cases is INEVITABLE in the coming months.

The current Level 4 is as bad as Level 5 was, with massive military deployment, civilian abuses, and no specified end date. It is one of the world’s longest and harshest lockdowns. Unlike other governments with long lockdowns, the South African government is not providing the safety net to poor people and small businesses, so millions of people are starving and hundreds of thousands of businesses are going bankrupt.

Mr President, I ask that you trust us all and justify the rules as the decisions made by government have been secretive and irrational, with nothing to do with public safety or coronavirus.

If the government doesn’t end this economic lockdown, people will end it for them. In fact, this is already happening. When rules are irrational, people tend to break them – not because the people are bad, but because the rules are bad. The current lockdown is forcing poor people to choose between going hungry or breaking the law. It is giving them no choice but to break the law.

Mr President, I urge you to face up to the serious situation confronting us: end the nation-wide economic lockdown and allow South Africans to go safely back to work.

You’ll know that we have already instructed our lawyers to challenge the discriminatory use of the coronavirus emergency relief fund. It isn’t right for government to exclude citizens from this relief based on their, or their employer’s, race and other arbitrary criteria.

We also petitioned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make any funds obtained from them by the South African government conditional on non-racial use, or any other arbitrary criteria.

And most recently, our lawyers filed papers in the High Court challenging the rationality of three separate lockdown-related issues: the night curfew, the ban on e-commerce and the restriction on exercise hours.

Together with the undersigned South Africans, I believe that all three of these decisions should be immediately reversed, as there are no rational justifications for a military-enforced curfew, a restriction on e-commerce business and a limited 3-hour window for exercise.

We also wish to challenge the constitutionality of having the National Command Council take these irrational decisions as they please, without any checks and balances! If we let them get away with this, Mr President, our democracy will find itself on a very slippery slope.

President Ramaphosa, we call on you to listen to our concerns and trust us.

Every single business that can safely open must be allowed to open NOW so that people can get back to work and feed their families. That is the only way we will ensure that, once we have defeated this virus, we have a country left to rebuild.

 

Regards,

John Steenhuisen
DA Leader