President Ramaphosa is optimistic that work done by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and government’s continued consultation with other formations and sectors could result in an advance to Alert Level 3 before the end of May 2020.
The presidency announced this in a statement on the commitment by NEDLAC to migrate to Coronavirus COVID-19 level 3 lockdown as soon as possible.
A virtual meeting of the NEDLAC constituencies, co-chaired by the president, was held on 15 May 2020 to assess preparations for the step-down from Level 4 of the national lockdown.
The meeting was the first in a series of consultations led by the president between government, social partners and civil society on the migration from Level 4 to Level 3 of the lockdown.
According to the statement, NEDLAC constituencies are “working sectorally and collectively to achieve the country’s earliest possible migration to Level 3 of the national lockdown”.
“Government, labour, business and the community sector are undertaking detailed work to ensure that lives will be saved and livelihoods will be protected as the economy is progressively unlocked and society adapts to the reality of economic activity with COVID-19 as an ever present danger.”
Social partners agree that the strengthening and sustainability of prevention measures at workplaces, on public transport and in public places, are necessary as part of a long-term way of life in the midst of COVID-19.
NEDLAC also sees Level 3 as an “opportunity for expanding local production and greater consumption of South African-made goods by consumers, as part of reversing the economic losses suffered during the national lockdown, and as part of the country’s long-term approach to industrialisation and employment”.
Meanwhile, in a statement following a Special Cabinet Meeting held on a virtual platform last week, cabinet, in appreciating the progress made towards levelling the pandemic curve and capacitating the public health system to deal with an increase in infections, approved the further easing of restrictions.
“Ministers will initiate and finalise broad-ranging consultations within government, key sectors of the economy and with civil society. This will lead to the general relaxing of the lockdown restrictions from Level 4 towards Level 3 and others.”