As we look forward to the introduction and implementation of lockdown with level 3 regulations in South Africa at the end of the month, UASA is steadfast in its belief that returning to economic activities in conjunction with adhering to stringent health and safety standards is as important as staying safe and preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
As of today, 22 May 2020, South Africa has recorded 19137 positive cases, 8950 recoveries and sadly 369 deaths out of 525 433 test conducted.
Grim projections have been made public by the group of scientists advising the government on projections and modelling of the coronavirus. Up to 40 000 people could die when the virus reaches its peak in South Africa over the coming winter months with a million positive cases also projected. This goes to show that the coronavirus is still with us and we cannot be complacent in our efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
Moving to level 3 will not mean the virus has been cured.
UASA is happy to see the return of online shopping (e-commerce) allowing for the selling of any product other than alcohol and cigarettes. E-Commerce and courier companies are pulling all the stops to ensure social distancing is adhered to and other health and safety measures as issued by the Department of Health including the wearing of face masks in public.
Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga announced a finalised phased reopening of schools in the country with Grade 7 and matric students returning on the 1st of June and other grades expected to gradually return thereafter. UASA is pleased that teachers will be supplied with personal protection equipment by the government and that schools will be thoroughly cleaned before pupils return. If schools are not properly sanitized and strict adherence to health and safety is not followed, schools have the potential to become virus hot zones endangering students and teachers alike.
UASA appeals to parents to become actively involved in ensuring that there is no compromise in their children’s safety upon returning to the classroom.
The Reserve Bank’s MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) yesterday announced a 50 basis point interest rate cut. Before today, the MPC had already cut rates by 225 basis points in an attempt to help the economy to recover. UASA believes the repo rate cut is essential to assist cash strapped workers during this difficult time with some of them losing income as a result the lockdown. This however, does negatively impact pensioners who rely on interest from savings.
UASA is also pleased with the announcement that all learner’s licenses, driving licenses, temporary driver’s licenses, motor vehicle license discs, temporary permits, roadworthy certificates and professional driving permits that expired between 26 March and 31 May 2020 will remain valid. The validity of the above mentioned expired documents has been extended by 90 days effective from 1 June 2020.