- Alcohol remains banned
- Government stands by its decision not to reverse lockdown extension
Mbabane: Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has announced that government has taken a decision to extend curfew hours from 8pm to 11pm and of opening of shops from 6pm to 8pm.
This is despite the mounting pressure from members of parliament that government should reverse the decision to extend the partial lockdown by two weeks.
On Wednesday the acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has on parliament maintained that the extended restrictions announced last week will continue to be in effect, but with exception of extended curfew hours and extended shops opening hours.
Last week a motion was passed in parliament after it was moved by Lobamba Lomdzala Member of Parliament Marwick Khumalo and supported by Manzini north Member of Parliament Thandi Nxumalo, that government should review the decision on lockdown within 48 hours.
“May I inform the House, Mr. Speaker, that Government has taken the decision to extend curfew hours from 8pm to 11pm. We have been made aware that some EmaSwati have had to sleep at the border when crossing into the country from South Africa in the evening because of the curfew hours. Similarly, the opening of shops is being extended from 6pm to 8pm. This is with effect from 11th March, 2021”, he said.
Masuku told parliament that health experts have warned us of a third wave lurking in the shadows whose variants continue to worry scientists. We have an obligation as Government to protect EmaSwati from facing the wrath of these variants without the proper armour.
He said government took a methodological approach to effect the partial lockdown in a calculated effort to balance the interest of the economy and continue to save lives. The balancing effect Masuku said calls for hard decisions to be made consistently as government is dealing with a highly unpredictable yet deadly virus.
Based on health advice, Masuku said government took a decision last week to extend the current partial lockdown restrictions by a further two weeks. The sole aim is to delay the start of the third wave and ensure that all our systems have received enough boosters to withstand the pressures of a wave predicted to be deadlier than the previous two.
“We are continuously reviewing our decisions to strike the necessary balance between saving lives and livelihoods”, he said.
Masuku said government is currently at the final stages of completing the processes, systems and measures to ensure the safe reopening of schools and places of worship. As a result the extended restrictions announced last week will continue to be in effect with the exception of the extended curfew hours and extended shops opening hours.
Masuku said, the decisions taken by government were at the best interest of government’s primary responsibility of saving lives. “We cannot afford to lose more lives”, he said.
Masuku said government cannot afford to relax and be indecisive when the lives of EmaSwati were in severe danger. “As Government, we remain committed to uplifting the lives of all EmaSwati and protecting their lives”, he said.