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[HAPPENING NOW] Presidency Cyril Ramaphosa begins his address. "The response of South African people to this crisis has been remarkable," he says. "Most South Africans have accepted the restrictions that have been placed on their freedom and their lives," he continues.
Ramaphosa describes different sectors of society which have come forward to accept this national challenge, many of which he says have had to make difficult decisions and sacrifices, which are understood to be necessary for South Africa to emerge from this disaster.
"On behalf of the nation I would also like to thank the health workers of our country," says Ramaphosa, along with teachers, border officials, police and others. He reiterates that "the most effective way to prevent infection is changes in personal behaviour" before listing some.
Ramaphosa speaks of the deepening global crisis. "Today, there are over 340,000 confirmed cases across the world. In South Africa the number of confirmed cases has increased sixfold" cases and the number will rise. He says "immediate, extraordinary and swift" action is essential.
[NOT VERBATIM] Ramaphosa: I am concerned that a rapid rise in infections will stretch our health systems beyond what they can manage. We must do everything within our means to stop the spread of infections.
"We need to urgently and dramatically escalate our respons," says Ramaphosa. "The next few days are crucial." He notes the many people in South Africa with suppressed immunity because of HIV and TB, along with high levels of poverty and malnutrition.
[BREAKING] Effective from midnight on Thursday, 26 March until midnight Thursday, 16 April 2020 a national lockdown comes into effect in South Africa, says Ramaphosa. It will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
Those exempt from the lockdown will include:
Emergency services
Security services (police, traffic officers, soldiers, military)
Food and basic good production
Essential banking services
Essential power
Laboratory services
Those involved in medical and hygiene product production
Other exemptions include the JSE, pharmacies and supermarkets, those involved in certain mining processes as well as those involved in transporting patients. Ramaphosa says he has instructed the South African National Defence Force to assist in the national lockdown.
"Community health teams will focus on expanding screening and testing where people live, focusing first on high density and high risk areas. To ensure that hospital are not overwhelmed a system will be put in place for centralised case management," says Ramaphosa.
Additional measures will be implemented with immediate effect to strengthen preventative measures, says Ramaphosa. South African citizens returning from high risk countries will be placed in quarantine for 14 days. International flights to Lanseria will be temporarily suspended.
"We are putting measures in place to mitigate the economic impact [...] we are announcing a set of measures [...] this is the first phase of the economic response," says Ramaphosa. "These interventions are quick and targeted."
These measures include a solidarity fund focused on preventing the spread of the #coronavirus. Ramaphosa lauds the Rupert and Oppenheimer families, which he names in his address now, for donating R1-billion each to South Africa's measures to prevent the spread of #COVID19.
[EARLIER] Ramaphosa read aloud the URL for the special fund as follows: He later goes on to say to alleviate congestion at pay points old age and disability grants will be available from 30 and 31 March while other grants will be available from 1 April.
Ramaphosa says "we have met with all major banks" and certain competition regulations have been lifted to allow banks to offer relief measures. He speaks of SMEs and vulnerable firms facing loss of income, details of relevant measures will be made available in the next few days.
The revenue service @sarstax will also contribute to measures to assist. Ramaphosa describes a concession for tax-compliant firms with turnover of less than R50-million: they will be allowed to delay 50% of their PAYE liability over and one other fee over the next few months.
Ramaphosa speaks of meetings regarding tourism and efforts to address this sector. He says "we will act very strongly against any acts of corruption" or price-fixing and he has ordered the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to acts swiftly against those who commit these crimes.
Speaking of local liquidity, Ramaphosa says "we have the space to provide support to the real economy" and he notes the Governor of the Reserve Banks has given him assurances, it and the commercial banks will ensure the bank notes and coins remain available, says Ramaphosa.
[NOT VERBATIM] Ramaphosa: In the days, weeks and months ahead our resolve, our resourcefulness and our unity as a nation will be put to the test. Let us never despair despite the challenges our country is facing now for we are a nation of one and surely we are going to prevail.
After a call or prayer for blessing on South Africa in the country's languages, Ramaphosa concludes. Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu then invites the press to a ministerial briefing tomorrow for further details on the new regulations.
[FULL SPEECH] You can read the full text of Ramaphosa's speech below.…
Crunch time. Worth taking the following statements from Ramaphosa to heart, "Our analysis of the progress of the epidemic informs us that we need to urgently and dramatically escalate our response. The next few days are crucial."
See below from Ramaphosa's speech for some - and please note, not all - of the details of the national lockdown effective from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020.
[DETAIL] Ramaphosa says the Solidarity Fund will be chaired by Gloria Serobe with Adrian Enthoven as deputy. He says it "will be administered by a reputable team" and "will fully account for every cent contributed and will publish the details on the website."
Presently, the Solidarity Fund (SF) site - Ramaphosa read the URL during his speech this evening - is looking a little skimp on detail and design polish. This is where Ramaphosa says every SF cent will be account for and where those details will be appear.
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