President calls on SA to maintain social distancing after minister visits friend for lunch during lockdown

President Cyril Ramaphosa has again emphasised the importance of social distancing in the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa.

He has called on South Africans to abide by the regulations that have been published by government during the 21-day lockdown and to take the virus seriously.

“In terms of compliance, we are finding that many of our people throughout the country are abiding by the lockdown and the regulations,” he said during a visit to the Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Covid-19 Command Centre at Rand Water, in Johannesburg, earlier today.

Government, he said, is still doing an assessment on the effectiveness of the lockdown.

“If we had not locked down South Africa as we have … I can tell you that the infection rate would have been higher that what we have. The lockdown has been an important measure that we have used to save lives and to contain the spread of the pandemic.”

He said government was right now focussed on stopping the spread of Covid-19 cases and deaths as well.

This as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has increased to 1749. It has claimed the lives of 13 people in South Africa.

Communications Minister

President Ramaphosa, in response to a question regarding Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’ alleged violation of the lockdown rules, said he had called her to meet with him.

This after former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana shared a picture of the two, along with others, having a meal at his house.

“I have seen the picture of Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams sitting at the luncheon with a number of friends and other people. I have asked her to come and see me, so she is going to come and see me and I am going to have a discussion with her about the impact of visuals,” the President said.

According to the 21-day lockdown regulations implemented by government, people are only allowed to go to stores to get essential items or if they are rendering essential services.

According to the picture posted – and later deleted by Manana – Ndabeni-Abrahams stopped by Manana’s house for a meal on her way back from executing essential services duties.

The president said he would be going straight home after his work engagement, so as to abide by the lockdown regulations.

Read: 1,749 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa, with deaths up to 13

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President calls on SA to maintain social distancing after minister visits friend for lunch during lockdown