President Ramaphosa to address South Africa on Sunday evening

 ·25 Jul 2021
Cyril Ramaphosa South African President

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h30 on Sunday evening (25 July) to discuss developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The president’s address will follow meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet which are taking place during the course of the day.

“As South Africa rolls out its Covid-19 vaccination programme, government and social partners are continuously monitoring Covid-19 infection, treatment and patient recovery rates as well as compliance with health regulations and other prevention measures,” the Presidency said in a statement.

The president is expected to ease some of South Africa’s lockdown restrictions, according to the Sunday Times.

Rosemary Anderson, chair of Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA), told the Sunday paper that it expects the president to ease the country’s travel and alcohol bans to help get the economy on track.

“Without lifting the alcohol ban, most restaurants will no longer be financially viable, as big portions of profits come from alcohol sales,” said Anderson.

The beer industry on Sunday urged the country’s decision-makers to lift the alcohol ban, which has been in place since 28 June 2021, in order to prevent a total collapse of the sector.

It said that the latest estimates reveal that the four alcohol bans, which have forced businesses to close their doors for 161 days, have put 248,759 jobs at risk and cost the country’s GDP an estimated R64.8 billion.

“These figures do not take into account the recent looting of liquor outlets and distributors in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which saw R500 million worth of alcohol entering the illicit market and 332 businesses being destroyed, it said.

When it comes to the beer industry, the craft brewing sector has been particularly hard hit by the bans, the association said. “Since the start of the lockdown 27 craft breweries have been forced to shut down permanently, with a further 31 on the verge of closing if the current ban is extended.

“While the government recently opened the Covid-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) to businesses in the alcohol industry, this has come too late for these micro-breweries who received zero financial assistance over the past 16 months,” it said.

These brewery closures have not only resulted in hundreds of workers losing their jobs, but have also dealt a severe blow to the craft beer community which had seen major growth in recent years, helping differentiate the beer industry and increasing consumer choice.

A total of 49,589 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in South Africa, with 12,056 new cases, representing a 24.3% positivity rate. A further 413 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said.

The majority of new cases are from Gauteng (30%), followed by the Western Cape (21%). KwaZulu-Natal accounted for 14%; Mpumalanga accounted for 8%.

7-day moving average number of cases by province

Read: Ramaphosa expected to ease lockdown restrictions on Sunday – including lifting the alcohol ban

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