End of National State of Disaster welcomed

Covid-19 lockdown

Photo by Reuters

5th April 2022

By: Sane Dhlamini

Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor and Researcher


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Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson Cilliers Brink has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that Cabinet has decided to end the National State of Disaster but cautions against allowing the Health Act amendments to replace it.

Brink said South Africa had suffered under the State of Disaster for 750 days, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to enormous hardships and devastation to the country's economy and to people's lives and livelihoods.

The DA has been calling for an end to the State of Disaster for several months, since experts in the health field have advised that these restrictions were no longer necessary and scientifically not valid.

He said it was extremely worrying that despite the formal lifting of this State of Disaster, the government now seemed to be hell-bent on normalising the restrictions that the country had faced.

“… introducing regulations to the Health Act that will effectively normalise this very abnormal state of affairs and shift the power of unnatural regulations to the Minister of Health,” he said.

The DA has written to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla calling on him to retract certain proposed health regulations.

The party believes that it is a transparent and opportunistic attempt to extend the unilateral power that it claims government afforded themselves during the State of Disaster.

The party has also called on all South Africans to scrutinise the proposed amendments to the Health Act and to lodge their objection before or on April 16.

Meanwhile, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said the lifting of the State of Disaster and the passing of the 30-day transition period gave South Africa the opportunity to accelerate its efforts to grow the economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner to create much-needed jobs.

Busa urged government to “demonstrate courageous leadership” in taking the tough decisions to attract investment and to work with business and other social partners to grow the economy.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said while it supported the lifting of the State of Disaster, it stressed that it was critical that all South Africans appreciate that Covid-19 remained a real threat to the lives and livelihoods of millions and that a fifth wave was expected as winter approached. 

Cosatu said everyone had a responsibility to play their part in managing the new normal, this included wearing masks indoors, sanitising, social distancing and vaccination.

The union said it welcomed the extension of the R350 Social Relief of Distress as it would provide welcome relief for more than 10-million unemployed persons receiving it.

Cosatu called on the grant to be made permanent. 

Edited by Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia



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