Vice President David Mabuza has warned that Covid-19 remains a death sentence, even as the country has seen a gradual decline in the number of new daily cases and daily death toll.
He spoke in Mpumalanga on Friday in his capacity as chairman of the inter-ministerial committee Covid19 vaccines.
†[We] must recognize that COVID-19 will stay with us for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“The fight against Covid is not over yet. The threats to the resurgence of infections are always great, as has been seen around the world.
“This is not the time to be triumphant, complacent and let our guard down. We need to find ways to adapt and coexist with this virus in our communities, workplaces, health facilities and schools.”
Mabuza said recovery from the devastation of the pandemic would require “significant contributions from the private sector” for the South African economy.
“While significant progress has been made in the fight against Covid, the aftermath of the devastation and negative impacts have been felt across various sectors of society,” he said.
“Here at home, our prospects for economic growth and employment have been thwarted by recurring waves of Covid and its variants.
“The livelihood was decimated in several sectors. Therefore, one of the most important tasks in our Covid response is economic reconstruction and recovery.
“We need to rebuild the economy, create jobs and ensure that livelihoods are improved and maintained.
“We need to ensure that business players … continue to expand local investment, access skills development opportunities and support small businesses through deliberate participation in local and global supply value chains.”
Mabuza said the education the sector in particular had felt the full impact of the pandemic, with losses in teaching and learning times and rotational learning causing “disruptions” in the lives of students.
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He praised students, teachers and parents for “maintaining this difficult course. Despite these setbacks, we are still standing.”
As online learning became more of a norm, the government had committed to equalizing “unequal access to technology platforms” for those in rural schools.
“The government will continue to intervene and invest in schools so that schools and poor households are connected to each other to access the latest learning platforms and technologies.
†[Investment] in information technologies and connectivity infrastructure in schools and rural communities will ensure that our [pupils] are prepared for the ‘new way of working’.”