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COVID-19 has huge impact on poor citizens, says Ramaphosa in May Day message

The president said while South Africa had implemented the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, thousands in informal settlements didn’t have access to basic amenities and they were under-nourished.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown had a huge impact on poor South Africans, but it was necessary to curb the spread of the pandemic.

In his May Day statement, Ramaphosa said poor, unemployed and working-class South Africans were top of his mind.

He said as the country eased into level 4 lockdown, companies must ensure the safety of their workers

The president said while South Africa had implemented the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, thousands in informal settlements didn’t have access to basic amenities and they were under-nourished.

“Millions of South Africans have struggled to earn a livelihood and to feed their families. We all recognise that the lockdown is necessary to save lives, it has kept the infections and fatalities low while giving us the time to mobilise more capacity for the expected peak in infections that scientists tell us is coming.”

The president said as permitted sectors re-open under level 4 lockdown, companies must ensure that workers were safe.

“Companies are expected to screen all workers for COVID-19 symptoms each day when they report for work and companies with more than 500 employees must make arrangements to test their workers.”

He said the country was expanding capacity for community-based screening and testing, care for hospitalised patients and to ensure that all health workers and frontline staff have protective equipment.