President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will address the nation next week on a range of issues.
This as Ramaphosa expresses great concern about the country’s pandemic-hit economy and about avoiding a “second-wave” of Covid-19 cases, and corruption.
The president was answering questions in a virtual conference with the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef).
In opening remarks, Ramaphosa confirmed the government was intensifying its Covid-19 response, including strengthening contact tracing. He said the country could see “sudden surges” and the government was working at avoiding a second wave of infections.
The second issue is the economic recovery. Ramaphosa said the pandemic has had a “devastating” effect on the economy, and cited news on Tuesday of the 51% downscale of the economy.
He said the government was working with stakeholders to see how to develop a recovery strategy. He also said there will be a strategy on increasing new jobs.
The third area of focus is the issue of corruption. He said the “silver lining” to come out of the Covid-19 PPE corruption was that there will be transparency when it comes to contracts. The government will put in place measures to make this happen.
He said the government is looking at strengthening corruption-busiting measures in general.
The president also spoke of gender-based violence, saying the government is looking how best to fight it. He also said racism was still “rearing its ugly head”.
Ramaphosa said he will make ministers available for questions and answers from the media, especially since the economy has been in a poor state of late.
The president, meanwhile, said there was “action that we need to take” to advance the rights of journalists, especially when it came to harassment against reporters.
Sanef said it has raised more than R3 million after the jobs bloodbath in the media sector, and the forum has paid R5 000 to more than 200 recipients.
Its chairperson, Sbu Ngalwa, told Ramaphosa that journalists were still falling victim to harassment while carrying out their jobs, recently seen during the protests at Clicks outlets by members of the EFF.
Ngalwa said the forum is working on a memorandum which would instruct police on how to deal with journalists who are on the frontline.
He extended condolences to members of the media who have died from Covid-19.
– Kerushun Pillay
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