Deputy President David Mabuza has acknowledged that easing the lockdown regulations was a risk that would have huge consequences but said that it was a fine balancing act between saving lives and livelihoods.
The deputy president was in Mangaung in the Free State to assess the province’s readiness to deal with the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak expected later this year.
The Free State was flagged as a concern at the start of the outbreak as a large number of people were infected when they visited a church gathering in Mangaung before the lockdown.
Mabuza said that although many were at risk by easing the lockdown regulations, the country simply could not afford to keep citizens locked up.
“We can walk alongside with the virus,” Mabuza said.
Government has intervened with many relief funds, social grants and programmes but Mabuza said this was not sustainable forever.
“Life must go on, we can’t survive on these food parcels, because with these food parcels, someone must be in the field to produce food. So, we can’t all just go and hibernate.”
The deputy president said that as the economic crises worsened, many more people were turning to government for financial assistance, which the state didn’t have.