President Cyril Ramaphosa

Following consultation with social partners, President Ramaphosa said government has set up a Solidarity Fund, which South African businesses, organisations and individuals, and members of the international community, can contribute.

He said the Fund would focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help government to track the spread, care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted.

Mr Ramaphosa said the Fund would complement what we are doing in the public sector.

“I am pleased to announce that this Fund will be chaired by Ms Gloria Serobe and the deputy Chairperson is Mr Adrian Enthoven.

“The Fund will be administered by a reputable team of people, drawn from financial institutions, accounting firms and government.

“It will fully account for every cent contributed and will publish the details on the website and it will have a board of eminent South Africans to ensure proper governance.

“To get things moving, Government is providing seed capital of R150 million and the private sector has already pledged to support this fund with financial contributions in the coming period. We will be spending money to save lives and to support the economy,” he said.

The Fund has a website ––nd you can begin to deposit monies into the account tonight.

Mr Ramaphosa also indicated that government would be spending money to save lives and to support the economy, further applauding the commitment made in this time of crisis by the Rupert and Oppenheimer families of R1 billion each to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lanseria airport temporarily suspended

International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended in order to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday as he announced the nation-wide lockdown.

“A number of additional measures will be implemented with immediate effect to strengthen prevention measures. Some of those measures are that South African citizens and residents arriving from high-risk countries will automatically be placed under quarantine for 14 days.

“Non-South Africans arriving on flights from high-risk countries we prohibited a week ago will be turned back.

“International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended. International travelers who arrived in South Africa after 9 March 2020 from high- risk countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.

On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government would impose a nation-wide lockdown from midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight on Thursday 16 April; all South Africans will have to stay at home.

He also announced that government is putting in place measures to mitigate the economic impact both of this disease and of our economic response to it.

“We are today announcing a set of interventions that will help to cushion our society from these economic difficulties.

“This is the first phase of the economic response, and further measures are under consideration and will be deployed as needed. These interventions are quick and targeted. Firstly, we are supporting the vulnerable,” he said.

Selling of goods at excessively high prices

The President expressed his concern about a number of businesses that are selling certain goods at excessively high prices, indicating that: “this cannot be allowed.”

Regulations have been put in place to prohibit unjustified price hikes, to ensure shops maintain adequate stocks of basic goods and to prevent people from
‘panic buying’.

“It is important for all South Africans to understand that the supply of goods remains continuous and supply chains remain intact.

“Government has had discussions with manufacturers and distributors of basic necessities, who have indicated that there will be a continuous supply of these goods. There is therefore, no need for stockpiling of any items,” he said.

A safety net is being developed to support persons in the informal sector, where most businesses will suffer as a result of this shutdown.

However, he said more details will be announced as soon as we have completed the work of assistance measures that will be put in place.

To alleviate congestion at payment points, old age pensions and disability grants will be available for collection from 30 and 31 March 2020, while other categories of grants will be available for collection from 01 April 2020.

All channels for access will remain open, including ATMs, retail point of sale devices, Post Offices and cash pay points.