The dark cloud of the coronavirus has a silver lining which presents opportunities for South Africa to reset its economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said, as he exuded confidence of addressing the devastating effects of the pandemic.
In a live interaction for the first time with citizens across multiple media on Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa said it was not the time to give up.
His comments came as infections and deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rise exponentially on a daily basis.
The country has so far reported 160,000 coronavirus infections with more than 2,800 deaths.
The infection rate is now doubling in a fortnight as the harsh winter weather reaches its peak across the country.
COVID-19 is a dark cloud that is hanging over our country (but) there is a silver lining that we have got to look out for (which is) that we are going through a crisis, but on the other side, there is an opportunity," he said without mentioning what are these opportunities.
We are currently involved in looking at the various opportunities that have been given rise to by COVID-19, such as resetting the economy of our country.
He said the pandemic has brought more dramatically to the forefront the devastating effects of poverty, unemployment, challenges of hunger and inequality.
"We need to address those, Ramaphosa said, adding that this was being experienced in many other countries as well.
He said there were already plans to rebuild the economy through bold investment in public employment through infrastructure projects.
Ramaphosa didn't expand on the plan.
"There are a lot of conversations taking place in our country by labour, business, communities and government as well, and all these are going to coalesce into a new vision for our country (that) should be collectively owned by all and our people must subscribe to it and have a sense of this is what we want to see for our country going forward, the President said.
The President also lamented the huge rise in violence and accidents following the lifting of the ban on alcohol during the first phase of the five-level lockdown strategy.
The ban was lifted at the beginning of June, when level 3 of the lockdown went into operation, allowing much more public movement.
After we lifted (the ban) we started seeing the ugly side of our social life, where there has been excessive abuse of alcohol which has led to a whole lot of other social ills," he said.