“Close the borders” becomes something of a mantra from concerned South Africans. Many of them literally beg President Cyril Ramaphosa to do that. Already the government brought back Level 3 Lockdown for the second wave of COVID-19. But many people think that closing the borders should take priority after alarming images of Beitbridge appeared on social media.
‘Close the borders’ calls as those who went north return
Ahead of Christmas, we reported that queues at Beitbridge were so long, it took up to five days for people to pass through. Some rather tragic stories emerged, and at least one woman died. Now, those people return, and the borders are clogged all over again. Many people fear that their return brings an overwhelming number of potential COVID-19 infected people into the country. The second wave reportedly brings a fast-spreading variant. Certainly, when we went to a medical centre in Emalahleni this week, many people stood in line for COVID-19 tests. Something we never witnessed during the first wave.
The government claims that ICU units came under pressure, which is why the new amended Level 3 Restrictions restrictions came in. On Wednesday, January 6, the NCCC meets ahead if the previous projected date to discuss possibly tighter lockdown restrictions. According to Business Tech, “Government spokesperson Phumla Williams confirmed that the meeting will now be convened at 09h00 on Wednesday. Originally, it was scheduled for Monday next week. “Williams previously said that a meeting would not be called earlier than scheduled unless there was a change in South Africa’s Covid-19 situation.”
Fewer hard lockdown regulations wanted, but people want the borders closed
When President Ramaphose notified about the emergency meeting on Twitter, many people spoke out about the borders. Here’s what some of them said:
- @mtbman10: “Close the Zim and other northern borders pls. These foreigners will take Covid across SA, where they are employed.”
- @Ora_Galeboe: “They must close that border with immediate effect.”
- @Mashabela_Paul: “The president must close the borders. Cancel all special permits issued to citizen of Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Angola. He must also create refugee camps.”
- @Sisacinezelwe1: “There can be no development while you still importing Covid from neighboring Countries especially Beitbridge.”
For now, it seems unlikely that the borders might be closed with immediate effect. But, other tight regulations could very well return. Notably, the decisions taken by the NCCC will not be communicated via a Presidential address. But they will come via “official accounts of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and The Presidency.”
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