'Having discrete levels is increasingly becoming a mockery' — Natasha Mazzone & Gwen Ngwenya discuss lockdown

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone says the government is willing to lose billions in revenue because of its arbitrary decision to curtail smoking, 'without scientific evidence that suggests smokers are more at risk of contracting Covid-19'.
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone says the government is willing to lose billions in revenue because of its arbitrary decision to curtail smoking, 'without scientific evidence that suggests smokers are more at risk of contracting Covid-19'.
Image: Trevor Samson

DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone and head of policy Gwen Ngwenya have weighed in on Covid-19 in SA, the lockdown and government's response to Prof Glenda Gray's criticism.

Mazzone and Ngwenya were featured in the party's bi-weekly online episode of CoronaCast.

Here are six interesting takes:

UIF glitch - Natasha Mazzone 

“We must never forget that UIF money does not belong to the government, but to people who pay every month in good faith that when they need it, it will come to them. This is a perfect example of reminding the people that they actually have the power. The worry that this has put on the shoulders of millions of South Africans is ridiculous.”

Cigarettes ban - Natasha Mazzone 

“Can you imagine how much money the government is losing in sin tax? Never before have we needed that sin tax more than we need it now, but the government is willing to lose billions in revenue because of this arbitrary decision. It cannot be explained and there is no scientific evidence that suggests that smokers would be more at risk [of the coronavirus].”

Challenging lockdown regulations - Natasha Mazzone 

“We're fundamentally fighting for our constitutional rights and we're looking at the constitutionality of some of the regulations. We've been told that if we don't behave, they are hanging over our heads levels 4 and 5. What happens if you live in a hotspot that the government decides must go back to level 4 or 5? Then you will have a curfew.”

Lockdown phases - Gwen Ngwenya 

“We've had levels within levels. Level 4 had its revisions where the country eventually won the battle on e-commerce and it was eventually introduced and now it seems there are some revisions made on level 3. It's increasingly becoming a mockery, this thing of having discrete levels. These levels are starting to lack credibility about what is driving them.”

Open up the economy - Gwen Ngwenya 

“We're not abandoning the smart lockdown but we cannot implement it [as we lack credible information] to make that strategy work. There should be an opening up that is combined with non-pharmaceutical interventions like wearing masks, hygiene and implementing health sector protocols.”

Testing in Western Cape 

“The population sizes in Gauteng and Western Cape are different. What matters is to look at the proportion of testing as per the population, and the Western Cape is conducting more tests proportionate to its population size.” 


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