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Ramaphosa admits there’s no money to help families hit by COVID-19

The alcohol, hospitality and tourism sectors are reeling after the president announced the move from level 1 to level 3 lockdown, banning the sale of alcohol.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a chilling admission that government has no money to support families left with no income as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Ramaphosa was speaking during a wide-ranging interview with Eyewitness News on Friday.

The alcohol, hospitality and tourism sectors are reeling after the president announced the move from level 1 to level 3 lockdown, banning the sale of alcohol.

This has led to the industries warning of a humanitarian crisis as jobs are being shed.

After Ramaphosa announced the first lockdown last year to curb the spread of COVID 19, he also announced a relief package to cushion the financial blow for industries that couldn’t operate during that period.

When infections started rising as the country experienced the second wave last month, he announced another ban on alcohol sales.

Except this time, with no relief for industries affected.

“We do not have the money, that’s the simple truth that has to be put out there, we are constrained from a financing point of view.”

But government has an obligation to both save lives and protect livelihoods.

So, is the ANC’s government’s corruption and mismanagement of the fiscus the reason the state can’t meet its obligation?

“Yes, we can a portion blame. But we have to deal with the problem going forward. My focus is how do we get out of this hole”

READ: Crooked people will always find a way, says Ramaphosa on PPE corruption

While government figures out how to get out of the hole, people are suffering.

“I am sad about that.”

WATCH: President Ramaphosa speaks to us

BLIND SPOTS

The president has conceded that government has had blind spots in drafting some of its regulations, which have proven to be confusing, with some describing them as economic sabotage.

When COVID-19 hit our shores, government implemented the lockdown and gazetted regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

There have been many contradictions, confusion and about turns on some of the lockdown regulations.

READ: Ramaphosa: Treasury will make sure money is available for COVID-19 vaccine

When Ramaphosa recently announced the ban on the sale of alcohol, he said this was to alleviate the pressure on our health system given how alcohol-related trauma cases increase and over burden hospitals.

But one of the confusions about the recent ban is that travellers leaving the country can’t buy alcohol at duty free shops at the airport.

Eyewitness News asked the president how this makes sense, given that the travellers are not consuming the alcohol here and therefore can’t be a threat to our health system.

“You’re making a very good example about the duty-free and it’s a blind spot.”

He said he would take this issue up.

WATCH: Ramaphosa on no alcohol sale at duty-free

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