“South Africa seems to have acted faster, more efficiently, and more ruthlessly than many other countries around the world,” the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the country.
The BBC on Thursday heaped praise on South Africa’s “ruthlessly efficient” coronavirus (COVID-19) response and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership.
In an article posted on its website, the broadcaster further said: “Heading the fight here against COVID-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged as a formidable leader – composed, compassionate, but seized by the urgency of the moment and wasting no time in imposing tough restrictive steps and galvanising crucial support from the private sector.
“And one rung below the president, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has likewise garnered near universal praise for his no-nonsense, energetic performance, and his sober, deeply knowledgeable, daily briefings.”
The country is ramping up testing for COVID-19 at a pace outstripping most of its economic peers and even far wealthier nations.
The article also pointed out that there have been mistakes.
“The police and army have, at times, acted with thuggish abandon in their attempts to enforce the three-week-long lockdown, humiliating, beating, and even shooting civilians on the streets of the commercial capital, Johannesburg, and elsewhere.
“But overall, as South Africans mark their first week under one of the strictest lockdowns introduced anywhere in the world – no jogging outside, no sales of alcohol or cigarettes, no dog-walking, no leaving home except for essential trips and prison or heavy fines for law-breaking – there is an argument to be made that a government so often attacked as corrupt and inefficient, and a private sector so often seen as aloof and greedy, are rising to meet what is widely anticipated to be the greatest challenge this young democracy has ever seen.”
NO CIGARETTE SALES ALLOWED ANYWHERE IN SA, SAYS CELE
Police Minister Bheki Cele has moved to try and further clarify the amendments to the lockdown regulations.
The minister said cigarettes are not essential items and could not be sold anywhere in the country.
There’s been confusion around some of the rules, with government backtracking and doing about turns on certain regulations.
Regarding funerals, Cele said according to the amended regulations, certain people could travel between provinces to attend funerals or cremations but they would need a permit to move around from a magistrate or from a police station commander.
This would be issued on provision of a death certificate.
Cele said that it was important for the individual seeking a permit to also give their date of return that would be reflected on the permit.
He admitted that the issue had been painful for everyone.
Additional reporting by Babalo Ndenze.