I’m sure many people have doubts about the Lockdown but to put everyone at ease, this is what you can expect:
The Public Health Management Programme will increase the screening, testing, contact tracing, and medical management significantly including high density and high-risk areas.
A system to ensure that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed will be put in place “centralised patient management” for severe cases and “decentralised primary care” for mild cases.
Emergency water supplies will be given to the people in informal settlements and rural areas.
A Solidarity Fund has been set up to which South African businesses, organisations, individuals, and the international community, can contribute. The Fund will help the presidency to track the spread, care for those in need and support disrupted lives. The government will provide seed capital of R150 million and the private sector also pledged to support the fund in the coming days.
The Rupert and Oppenheimer families contributed R1 billion each to support small businesses and the employees that may be affected by the Coronavirus.
The President told South Africans that it is not necessary to stockpile items as there will be a continuous supply of basic goods and food in stores.
Old-age pensions and disability grants will be available for collection from 30 and 31 March and other grants on 1 April.
The President said, “We are in consultation on a proposal for a special dispensation for companies that are in distress because of COVID-19. Through this proposal employees will receive wage payment through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme, which will enable companies to pay employees directly during this period and avoid retrenchment.”
Also, if an employee is infected while at work the Compensation fund will payout.
If necessary, the government will resort to using the UIF system to extend support to those workers in small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other vulnerable businesses.
Small businesses in trouble will be assisted through the tax system. A tax subsidy of R500 per month will be given to those private-sector employees earning below R6500 under the Employment Tax Incentive.
“Tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 million will be allowed to delay 20% of their pay-as-you-earn liabilities over the next four months and a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next six months.”
The Industrial Development Corporation and Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition are giving more than R3 million for industrial funding to vulnerable businesses and to fast-track financing companies.
The Department of Tourism made an additional R200 million available to help SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector who under tremendous stress due to the travel ban.
“The banking system will remain open, the JSE will continue to function, the national payment system will continue to operate and the Reserve Bank and commercial banks will ensure that banknotes and coins remain available.”
Ramaphosa ended off by saying, “I call on all of us, one and all, to play our part. To be courageous, to be patient, and above all, to show compassion. Let us never despair. For we are a nation at one, and we will surely prevail. May God protect our people.”