NATIONAL NEWS & VIDEO - Steenhuisen is also set to announce on the DA’s preparation for court action against lockdown regulations on Thursday.
This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on Wednesday evening.
Ramaphosa said the cabinet was yet to discuss localised lockdown levels set to be implemented based on the number of infections.
Steenhuisen said the economy and society must be opened up “to save lives and livelihoods from all types of risks, including job losses and not just Covid-19”.
“We repeat our call for the national lockdown to end swiftly,” he said.
“This lockdown has cost more lives than it has saved. Millions of jobs and lives have been destroyed.
“It is not a rational strategy and has not been so for weeks.
“It is irrational and disproportionate to the scale of the risk that Covid-19 poses, relative to other risks. And it has not been supported by an adequate safety net for poor people and small businesses.”
He said the DA supported the first three-week national lockdown, to buy time to prepare healthcare resources and hospitals.
Steenhuisen said South Africa’s response was based on “fear” and needed to change its approach.
This as he stated that the virus cannot be eliminated and will exist for a long time within the country.
“A rise and peak in infections are inevitable in the coming months, whether we lockdown or not. Lockdown can delay, but not reduce the number of infections.”
Steenhuisen proposed people be allowed to get back to work immediately, but with measures in place to slow the spread.
He proposed the following health measures:
- A reasonable set of safety regulations for businesses, public transport, schools and households. This would include the use of masks, sanitising, screening and physical distancing. Any business or school not able to comply should remain closed.
- Anyone who can work from home should be allowed to do so. No parent should be forced to send their child to school if they do not deem it safe to do so.
- Recommended continued lockdown for older citizens and those with any core underlining health conditions that pose danger for one if contracted the virus.
- Localised lockdowns only in “hotspots”, where this is still possible.
Steenhuisen, however, said the success of these interventions would depend on the cooperation of citizens.
He called on the government to be “transparent” and use a trust-based approach that puts more decision-making power in peoples’ hands.
Steenhuisen believed that this would increase levels of compliance.
He also called to allow unrestrained electronic commerce, ramp up electronic food vouchers for the distressed and also lift the ban on cigarettes and alcohol sales.
This is calls for the government to open up the economy from experts and some workers’ unions rose.
However, Ramaphosa, believes that the government has to gradually open the economy as the opening to “quickly” might see a rise in infections leading to the health system overwhelmed.
He said this would cost people’s lives.
Watch a video below: