President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his latest weekly newsletter to remind South Africans that COVID-19 is not the first pandemic that the country has had to deal with – and has encouraged citizens to soldier on during these trying times.
His latest letter comes as the country finds itself in the midst of the third wave of COVID-19 cases. Ramaphosa has said that the battle against respiratory disease can be won but warned that it will take discipline and persistence.
“We are now in the midst of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. We may be tired of this persistent enemy, but it is not yet tired of us. The threat to health and lives is evident as people become ill and some die. So we must do what we can, as individuals, as families and communities, as unions and employers, and as government, to limit the toll,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa has reminded South Africans that at some stage, it was battling a high rate of HIV/AIDS infections, but that with time and the application of certain measures, the figures improved.
“As South Africans, we have experienced pandemics before, most notably HIV/AIDS. We have managed to reduce new HIV infections by more than half since 2010. Our people know that we can control contagions, but it requires all of us to act together over time,” he said.
“It is not a task only for the vulnerable or the healthcare system. It requires every South African to do their part, to accept that we cannot go back to pre-pandemic days but must rather build a new normal that is safe for us all. We can win this battle, but it will take persistence and discipline”
President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa added that South Africa has experienced many hardships in the past – but the common denominator is how they were addressed, was that they not only understood the various challenges, but also developed appropriate strategies, which were implemented together as a nation.
Ramaphosa has also taken note of Gauteng being the epicentre of COVID-19 in the country, reiterating what the provincial government has already said – that hospitals are reaching capacity, and healthcare workers are exhausted.
“Gauteng looks small on the map. But it is home to one in five South Africans and two-fifths of our economy. As an economic hub many people travel to and from this province. We need to turn this around urgently, or lives and livelihoods will be seriously under threat,” he said.