'We are not stuck in level 4': Ramaphosa on lockdown and ciggies

15 May 2020 - 07:42
By SowetanLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said consultations would start on Friday to ease the national lockdown to level 3 but he was reluctant to elaborate on the issue of cigarettes and alcohol.

He was speaking during a visit to the Eastern Cape on Thursday to gauge the readiness of the province to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, accompanied by health minister Zweli Mkhize and premier Oscar Mabuyane

In a clip broadcast by eNCA, Ramaphosa was at pains to reassure that the country would not remain “stuck” on level 4 and would move to level 3 by the end of May.

“This country is bound to go from level 3 to level 2 and finally level 1. We are not stuck in level 4. I need to make that very clear. We are now going to migrate to level 3 so that we can loosen up the restrictions so that the economy can start operating once again.”

Asked for more details about moving to level 3 he said: “Consultations are starting tomorrow [Friday]. We have already said that we are moving to level 3. What we are really consulting about is the measures that should be part of level 3.

“We’re starting consultations tomorrow with Nedlac [the National Economic Development and Labour Council], we’ll do our provinces the following day” and then consult with other parties.

Asked if there was any indication as to when the sale of cigarettes and alcohol would be on the table, he smiled and said: “I knew that cigarettes and tobacco would come up again!”

Elaborating later he added: “As regards tobacco and cigarettes, I think let us wait for that moment when this matter will be dealt with and finalised.”