ramaphosa imbizo rights

Photo: GCIS

‘Your rights will be restricted’, Ramaphosa tells South Africans

President Cyril Ramaphosa certainly didn’t sugarcoat the situation South Africa finds itself in, likening our current state to that of a ‘war zone’.

ramaphosa imbizo rights

Photo: GCIS

Cyril Ramaphosa held his second Presidential Imbizo on Wednesday night, taking calls from local community organisations and the general public. Addressing all the standard topics, the head of state ended up replying in a very blunt manner to one query – suggesting that South Africans ‘must expect their rights to be affected’.

Ramaphosa warns South Africans about their rights

Already in this lockdown, booze and cigarettes have been withdrawn from sale. A nighttime curfew was reintroduced on Sunday, and citizens are banned from visiting their families. Our civil liberties have been put on hold in more ways than one, and according to the president, all these decisions are necessary:

“We know, as I’ve said previously, it [the ban on alcohol sales] is an imposition on our rights. We are now in a war. We are in a war zone and our rights will inadvertently be affected and restricted for our own survival. This is because we’ve got to protect every life.”

“Travel is allowed for commercial reasons. But casual visits [between family members and friends] are what we believe spreads the virus. We want to limit that as much as we can.”

Cyril Ramaphosa during the Presidential Imbizo

Presidential Imbizo on Wednesday 15 July

So there we have it: Cyril Ramaphosa has made it loud and clear that individual rights do not matter more than the duty of care the government has for the collective health of the country: We suppose one person’s libertarian nightmare is another’s responsible leader.

The president confirmed that he would be holding a second Imbizo in two weeks, to discuss a broader range of subjects related to the current period of lockdown. As we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, a fortnight can be a very long time in South Africa…