Pretoria News 23 March 2020

Pretoria – President Cyril Ramaphosa was in good health and observing the announced protocols as stringently as he could while performing his duties, the Presidency said yesterday.

The Presidency said Ramaphosa welcomed the announcement by ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe that he had been tested for coronavirus.

Meshoe was among leaders of political parties represented in Parliament who met Ramaphosa in Cape Town on Tuesday.

He has since confirmed publicly that in the days before the meeting with the president, and therefore before the prohibition of public gatherings numbering more than 100 people, he had participated in a religious gathering in the Free State where five international guests subsequently tested positive for the virus.

Meshoe, who has been asymptomatic since his participation in that gathering of approximately 200 people, announced on social media yesterday afternoon that he had been tested.

The Presidency said it welcomed Meshoe’s adherence to the testing protocol and wished him well as he awaited his results.

“At this point in time there is no cause for concern about the president’s health or reason for the president to be tested. To the best of the president’s knowledge, no person with whom he has recently had contact – including Meshoe – has symptoms of or tested positive for the virus,” the Presidency said.

Ramaphosa was due to address the measures that the nation would be taking with regards to the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

However, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu told the media there were some measures that were still being discussed last night. Mthembu said arrangements were being made for the president to address the nation today.

Ramaphosa was scheduled to speak after key engagements around the national state of disaster occasioned by the outbreak of coronavirus. He also had a consultation with business leaders at the Union Buildings.

The engagement with business forms part of a series of meetings held with various stakeholder constituencies – including communities of faith and the nation’s political leadership – in the week since his declaration on March 15 of the national state of disaster.

These leaders had an opportunity to outline the impact of the disaster on businesses and the economy at large, and engage recommendations to mitigate the impact of the outbreak on the economy at large.

Following the meeting with business, the president was due to receive a delegation of leaders of political parties who were part of his engagement last Tuesday. They had not had an opportunity at the meeting at Parliament to deliver statements of support.

The president later chaired a meeting of the National Command Council which received an update on the Covid-19 outbreak; progress and challenges related to implementation of the promulgated regulations on the state of disaster and other measures to protect the country, as well as economic impact.

The council considered whether the measures in place to contain the spread of the virus were sufficient, and what further measures were required.

Earlier, Standard Bank issued a payment reprieve for small businesses and students when it announced a three-month payment holiday for them from April 1 until June 30.

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