Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 8pm on Wednesday night about developments in the country’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19.

Ramaphosa’s address follows a number of meetings of the cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCC) and the presidential co-ordinating council, the presidency said. 

The president is expected to announce further easing of the level 3 lockdown regulations. 

SA has been in a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus since March. On June 1, the lockdown was eased to level 3 of the risk-adjusted strategy, which saw the majority of the economy open up and about 16-million people return to work. But some sectors, such as tourism, which contributes nearly 9% to GDP, have been left out in the cold.

The lockdown has had a devastating effect on the economy, prompting economists and think-tanks to slash their forecasts.

Last week, the NCC tabled a number of recommendations regarding moderating level 3 of the lockdown, but the cabinet wants advice from health experts before adopting them.

Earlier this week, small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told eNCA that the government is ready to reopen salons, spas and massage parlours. She reportedly said the government is looking to open more sectors as part of a move to an advanced level 3 lockdown, which could also include eat-in restaurants. 

It is yet to be seen whether the tourism industry, which has ground to a halt after the government closed all borders, banned local and international travel, and grounded planes to help curb the spread of Covid-19, will be provided any relief in the eased regulations.

Some domestic flights were allowed to start operating when the country moved to level 3, however, ailing state-owned airline SAA was not one of them.

On Tuesday evening, the SAA business rescue practitioners submitted their final rescue plan, which will see the government forking out at least R26bn for a restructured airline that will begin flying in the near future.

The government has committed to “fund or raise funding” of R2.8bn for working capital to restart SAA operations, which will be done through appropriations from the Treasury, according to the plan.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za