President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, announced that government plans to scrap the National State of Disaster “as soon as we have finalised other measures under the National Health Act and other legislation to contain the pandemic” .
Reacting to the president’s undertaking, ACDP leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe, who has been mobilising resistance to ongoing state of disaster rule, told SABC News the party “is happy to hear he [Pres Ramaphosa] is considering ending the national state of disaster”.
“We have been looking forward to that because the president and his small team have been running the country, which obviously we are very unhappy about,” said Meshoe, referring to the extra-parliamentary Coronavirus Command Council that has effectively been ruling SA for the past two years.
Meshoe said: “But we are delighted that he did acknowledge that Parliament must start operating and doing its work properly because we know that once Parliament starts working well, a number of things that were out of place and the freedoms of the people are going to be restored. A lot of freedoms, you know, have been suspended, but now it looks like we are going back to normality and we are very happy about that.
“You know I was concerned when they were always talking about this is the ‘new normal’. Now we are going back to the normal life that we want to with our family.”
Asked by Gateway News how he understood the president’s timeframe of lifting state of disaster rule as soon as possible, Meshoe said: “I am hoping it will be before the end of this month. If it is not happening there is going to be trouble.”
The current term of the state of disaster expires in four days time — on February 15.
“So we are watching and we are listening to ensure that come the 15th there is not talk about extending it,” said Meshoe.
He said that if there is not a return to parliamentary democracy by the end of the month the ACDP will mobilise street protests.
In his SONA speech Ramaphosa said nearly all restrictions on economic and social activity have already been lifted, largely thanks to the vaccination rollout programme.
Citing the latest data, he said South Africa has administered over 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, while nearly 42% of all adults and 16% of everyone over the age of 50 is fully jabbed.
He urged South Africans to take the jab and to continue to observe basic health measures and remain vigilant.
“We will be able to get on with our lives, even with the virus in our midst,” he said.
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