Steenhuisen Ramaphosa

DA leader John Steenhuisen. Image – DA / Twitter

Steenhuisen reiterates Ramaphosa’s call, urging ‘behavioural change’

Ramaphosa has been praised for avoiding a large-scale lockdown and has also been backed by Steenhuisen in the call for behavioural change.

Steenhuisen Ramaphosa

DA leader John Steenhuisen. Image – DA / Twitter

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on Thursday night, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has welcomed the fact that the president “resisted “temptation” to return the country or parts thereof to a higher level of lockdown. 

On Thursday night Ramaphosa had declared Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape a COVID-19 hotspot. Harsher restrictions such as limits on alcohol and curfew were, therefore, implemented in the metro. The Sarah Baartman District Municipality and the Garden Route in the Western Cape have also been flagged as great concerns. 

“It would appear that lessons about the ineffectiveness and destructiveness of lockdowns have finally been learnt, albeit nine months too late,” said Steenhuisen. 


Steenhuisen, reiterating Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to play their part in preventing the spread of infections, said significant behavioural changes are still the best weapon to combat the spread of infections. 

“Citizens need to play a bigger role in this behaviour change effort, but where they don’t we need increased law enforcement to step in and see to it that the laws and regulations are not abused,” he added. 

Steenhuisen said remaining at lockdown Level 1 allows for substantial indoor gatherings of up to 250 people, however, such a large gathering would be extremely irresponsible. 

He also urged Ramaphosa to intervene in the unfolding crisis in Nelson Mandela Bay and to ensure that the necessary healthcare capacity is made available to the people of the Metro. 


Steenhuisen also said government should be doing all it can to ensure that South Africans have access to the same protection as the rest of the world. 

“This should have started by securing a spot at the front of the queue for COVID vaccines. Unfortunately, our government has bungled this badly by missing the deadline for the first payment in the COVAX vaccine initiative. This means we now fall back in the queue, and South Africans might have to wait even longer before securing a vaccine,” he said. 

“This is unacceptable, and government owes the country a detailed and honest explanation of exactly what went wrong. It is crucial that this payment is made this week still, and that we book our spot in the queue,” he added. 

Steenhuisen also said Ramaphosa and government should be shielding the most vulnerable groups in society – the elderly and those with serious comorbidities such as diabetes and heart disease. 

“These are the people who need to be shielded from the virus more than anyone else, and will have to remain shielded until everyone has had access to the vaccine or we have achieved a level of herd immunity. This is where most of our precautionary concern should lie,” he said. 

With regards to the rising numbers of infections in the Garden Route area, Steenhuisen said the DA has full confidence in the preparation and capacity of the Western Cape Government to identify and contain any further outbreaks or hotspots.