Business for Ending Lockdown (B4EL) notes President Ramaphosa’s announcement of a move to lockdown level 2 commencing 17 August. While the further relaxing of restrictions is an improvement compared to remaining at level 3, B4EL will not thank the government for giving back to the people of South Africa that which belongs to them.
B4EL is a campaign to completely end lockdown. The campaign was founded this week (The Enterprise Observatory of SA is one of the founding members). It is supported by several of the most well-known and largest business organisations, already counting almost 60 000 businesses. For more information, see www.endlockdown.co.za.
The president’s announcement only underscores the fact that the lockdown remains unnecessary, arbitrary, and, by the president’s own admission, fraught with corruption.
The state of disaster allows the government to exert ultimate control over the economy, with the power to arbitrarily restrict freedoms and economic activity as it pleases. It also means less scrutiny on state tenders and procurement, allowing for a greater scope of state corruption.
As long as the state of disaster is in place, investors and businesses have insufficient assurance and confidence to kick-start long-term investment and hiring.
The lockdown continues to restrict the essential economic freedoms of too many South Africans to travel, trade, provide services, and earn a living:
- Business trips, holidays and family visits overseas remain completely banned.
- The sale of alcohol remains restricted.
- Much of the entertainment industry remains shut and unable to earn a living.
- The entire country remains subject to a curfew.
- Onerous health and safety regulations remain in place which further restrict activity and limit risk management options.
B4EL remains resolute in our demands that:
- Lockdown should be ended immediately;
- the state of disaster should end forthwith;
- people and organisations should manage their unique risks with the government converting all Covid-19 regulationbs into non-compulsory recommendations.
On behalf of Business for Ending Lockdown
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FranÃ§ois van Zyl
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