Following consultations with social partners – labour, community, and business – over downgrading to level three lockdown President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday chaired a meeting of his COVID-19 coordinating council.
The council comprised of ministers, premiers, and the South African local government association is meant to discuss further measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
President Ramaphosa has been engaging with different sectors of society about his announcement this week that the COVID-19 command council is anticipating introducing relaxed lockdown measures under level 3 from the beginning of June.
The development follows intense debate in the country over the necessity of some of the lockdown measures which have been in effect for the past 51 days.
There has been outrage from some sectors of society about the ban of cigarettes and alcohol sales – with legal challenges of the decision ongoing.
In his address to the nation this week – the President reassured South Africans that they are being heard, saying further relaxed measures in level four would be implemented with all e-commerce sales opening except for the sale of tobacco and alcohol products.
Alert level 3 would entail a more extensive reopening of the economy – leading to the increased movement of people.
The government has been persistent in its messaging that the developments would be implemented on a gradual basis and will be controlled by a risk-adjustment strategy.