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Gauteng set to move to level 3 from June, says David Makhura

Premier David Makhura said Gauteng will move to a less restrictive lockdown level from next month.
Premier David Makhura said Gauteng will move to a less restrictive lockdown level from next month.

Gauteng will move to a less restrictive lockdown level at the beginning of June, premier David Makhura said on Tuesday. 

BusinessLIVE reported that Makhura addressed a virtual sitting of the Gauteng provincial legislature  in which he sketched a picture of the economic devastation facing the province, which ordinarily contributes more than a third to the country’s GDP. 

SA has been in a state of disaster for more than two months, with the majority of the time under a strict national lockdown that is being lifted in phases. The phases range from level 5 at its strictest to level 1 at its most relaxed. SA is now on level four. 

“Gauteng will be going to level three at the beginning of June,” Makhura said. 

He emphasised that the province will move to different levels as a whole, and not in a fragmented way which would see metros and districts at different levels. Last week Makhura said the province was too integrated for this type of approach. 

The province was initially the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, but has benefited greatly from the lockdown, which closed OR Tambo and Lanseria airports.

He said the province could not stay at level 4 for too long as many people do not have the means to support themselves and the province does not have enough resources to provide assistance indefinitely. 

In terms of food security, Makura said more than 600,000 people in the province, which is the most populous in SA, have received help in the form of food parcels from the provincial government since the lockdown was imposed at the end of March. 

Makhura said the economic effect of Covid-19 would be like that experienced during the Great Depression in 1929. 

He said the modelling looked at the worst- and best-case scenarios in terms of job losses. The best-case scenario for the province is that almost 900,000 jobs would be lost. The worst-case scenario estimates that up to 2-million would be lost. 

Makhura warned that all projections indicate the “road ahead will be tough and painful”. 

He said the success in curbing the spread of the virus during the past two months is not the be-all and end-all, and the peak of the pandemic in the province is projected to hit later this year.

“We are ready for the worst of times. We will continue to build capacity for that," he said.