Road to freedom: Ramaphosa explains why State of Disaster is ending

South Africa may already be back to relative normality, but some restrictions still remain. After two years of COVID-19 lockdowns, many citizens want to see the back of the State of Disaster – and they’ll soon get their wish.

The logic behind ending the State of Disaster

President Ramaphosa confirmed on Thursday evening that the wheels are in motion to bring the State of Disaster to a conclusion. The 23-month-old framework is responsible for giving us some of the most restrictive policies on personal freedoms since the dawn of democracy in South Africa.

The legislation is due to expire on 15 February. It’s not yet clear if these laws will be extended by one more month, to allow government the chance to prepare for post-pandemic life. But the end is certainly nigh for all lockdown restrictions, and in case anyone is feeling a little cagey about it all, Ramaphosa has every right to call time on the SoD:

Vaccination rates in people over 50, and most vulnerable to the virus, are higher than any other age group.
The national vaccination rate is 42% of all adults. That rises to 60% in all citizens aged 50 and over.
COVID-19 is no longer in its ’emergency’ phase, which is why the State of Disaster is facing the chop.
Existing legislation will be amended, to cover laws relating to the virus.
The National Health Act, amongst others, will instead be used to outline COVID guidance.
High immunity levels across the population have allowed ‘nearly all restrictions’ to be lifted.

SONA 2022: Ramaphosa promises to lift ALL restrictions

Cyril’s plans to drop the State of Disaster was one of the highlights of his epic SONA 2022, which was noticeably longer than any of his previous efforts. Ramaphosa used his platform to trumpet the success of the COVID vaccines.

“During the past year, we have focused on accelerating our vaccine rollout. So far, we have administered 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Consequently, nearly 42% of all adults and 60% of everyone over 50 is fully vaccinated. We are now ready to enter a new phase in our management of the pandemic.”

“It is our intention to end the national State of Disaster as soon as we have finalised other measures under the National Health Act and other legislation to contain the pandemic. Nearly all restrictions on economic and social activity have already been lifted. Vaccines have proven to be the best defence we have against illness and death from COVID-19.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

[Speech] #SONA2022 | “Time and time again, we have pulled ourselves back from the brink of despair and inspired hope, renewal, and progress. Now, we must do so again.” – President @CyrilRamaphosa https://t.co/1AJPtqrYZs pic.twitter.com/f6xDNGnFqa

— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) February 10, 2022

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