To follow the recent address which saw the ban on the sale of alcohol, President Cyril Ramaphosa took the stand once again on Thursday, 23 July 2020 to address the nation on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19.
Ramaphosa announced that all public schools will be closed for the next four weeks, from (Monday, 27 July 2020) to (Monday, 24 August 2020). The address follows a number of meetings of the Cabinet and the National Coronavirus Command Council.
However, Grade 12 learners and teachers are expected to take a 1-week break and will return to school on 3 August 2020. While the Grade 7’s will take a 2-week break and expected to return to school on 10 August 2020.
As a result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the current academic year will be extended beyond the end of 2020.
Ramaphosa also touched on other COVID-19 related affairs in the country:
– by the end of this month, an additional R15 billion will have been paid out to social grant recipients.
– to date R1.5 billion in support has been provided to a number of small and medium businesses. Over R70billion in tax relief has been provided to businesses.
– over 4.4 million people have received a special COVID-19 grant of R350 per month. R2.2 billion has been paid out to these recipients.
– for the months of April, May, and June, the UIF’s special COVID-19 benefit has paid out R34 billion, helping over seven-and-a-half million workers and preventing retrenchments in a number of companies. This scheme has now been extended by another 6 weeks to 15 August 2020.
– over R70 billion in tax relief has been provided to companies offering vital support.
The president mentioned his concern about funds being stolen, misused, goods overpriced, food parcels stolen, corruption, and mismanagement of public funds.
Measures have now been put in place. Competition Commission has already investigated over 800 companies for excessive pricing. Fines of over R16 million have been issued. Special audits have also been undertaken.
At least 36 cases are currently at various stages of investigation and prosecution.