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Steenhuisen: Govt keeping real COVID-19 numbers a secret

Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen said that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his administration were not trusting South Africans with the truth.

DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen has accused government of keeping the real COVID-19 numbers a secret.

Steenhuisen said that President Cyril Ramaphosa and his administration were not trusting South Africans with the truth.

"We saw some really disturbing reports in the weekend papers that government is keeping the real figures away from South Africans because they don't want to alarm South Africans, or cause panic or create stigma. But this is a democracy, and in a democracy citizens have a right to know why their government is making certain decisions," he said.

He made these startling accusations during his weekly address.

Steenhuisen accused government of keeping the country in the dark about how many COVID-19 cases there were in the country.

Picture: EWN

He said the citizens needed to know the truth.

"Keeping our citizens in the dark, treating them like children instead of actually leveling with them about why we're doing what we need to do, it is not a good sign for a democracy."

However, Steenhuisen was vague on explaining how his party has come to this conclusion.

"Share with us the data, take us into your confidence around why you are making certain of these decisions which frankly don't make sense. Many South Africans are getting frustrated, angry and very concerned about their future."

The DA said that it was also calling on Ramaphosa to address the nation, since it's been 19 days since his last address.

LIFT RESTRICTIONS ON ONLINE SHOPPING

The DA also slammed the limited online shopping allowed during level 4 lockdown.

The party said that government’s stance on e-commerce should be to embrace it as a way to save jobs and keep part of the country’s economy going.

CEOs of a number of online shops agreed and have called for government to work with them to reopen their businesses.

Steenhuisen said that the ban on most online shopping and shipping was nonsensical and should be ended.

“Even the World Trade Organisation has come out at this time and endorsed e-commerce as a way to keep economies moving while we face this pandemic,” Steenhuisen said.

Bidorbuy CEO Craig Lubbe said the industry was bleeding.

“I don’t think we as a country can afford to not be working, it’s an untenable situation,” Lubbe said.

Shipping company uAfrica.com’s Anita Erasmus said they were willing to work with government on a way forward.

Government has indicated that online shopping regulations would be relaxed under level 3.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.

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