Covid-19: 'This is the time for patriotism' — Lekota after meeting Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa on arrival at the Union Buildings to begin engagements with business leaders amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on arrival at the Union Buildings to begin engagements with business leaders amid the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday morning met with opposition parties as well as business leaders at the Union Buildings in Pretoria over the Covid-19 outbreak.

Political parties and business leaders, briefing the media at noon, pledged their support of government interventions to curb the spread of the virus.

The political parties that attended the meeting at the Union Buildings were those that did not attend the meeting Ramaphosa had with other opposition parties in Cape Town earlier this week.

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota called on all South Africans to display patriotism during this time.

“This is the time for patriotism which is about the love of your country and your people,” said Lekota.

The NFP's Ahmed Shaik-Emam pleaded with all South Africans to comply with government regulations on the coronavirus to avoid a national shutdown.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa also weighed in.

“The UDM believes that in order to succeed in combating this virus, our plan should be guided by discipline, clean environment, speed and control,” said Holomisa.

Representatives of business from the Black Business Council, Business Unity SA as well as the Banking Association SA also expressed support.

Sandile Zungu, the president of the business council, said they were impressed by the role played by government to give confidence to the nation.

Zungu pledged their support: “There is no doubt in our minds that the sacrifices that businesses are making are making are fully appreciated by the powers that be. We have given a commitment to work with government and other social partners in making sure that we flatten this curve and let us honour the social distance protocols and beyond that we will be working together.”

Richard Wainwright from the Banking Association SA said the banking sector was more than capable of playing its part to contain the spread of the virus in line with government's approach.

“At a time like this we can be extremely proud and confident in our banking and financial services sector which is recognised around the world for its strength,” said Wainwright.

“The industry is very well positioned to collaborate with business, our clients, government and regulators in helping the nation to deal with this crisis that we are facing. It is a very critical role that we will play to help our customers to deal with this crisis.”

Ramaphosa is now meeting with the National Command Council and is then expected to address the nation.

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