Various industries have reacted with disappointment to the extension of the National State of Disaster, which Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced will be in effect until 15 February.

A Cape Times report notes in a Government Gazette announcement published on Friday, Dlamini-Zuma said that the extension would keep the country on alert level one.

George Business Chamber vice-chairperson, Dr Willie Cilliers, said they weren't expecting the extension as some restrictions were eased and the curfew was cancelled completely in December.

‘We really hope that this one is the last State of Disaster so that the economy in SA can run as normal again,’ he said.

DA Cogta spokesperson Cilliers Brink said the State of Disaster has been declared 21 consecutive times over the past two years.

‘In essence, the Minister claims that the government cannot deal with the Covid-19 pandemic under ordinary laws. If this claim was true at the outbreak of Covid-19, when the pandemic posed a serious risk to the health system, it is no longer true today,’ Brink said.

Wits University Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit’s Professor Shabir Madhi said there was little reason for maintaining the State of Disaster.

‘We are in a convalescent phase of the pandemic and (it is) highly unlikely that even with further resurgence and variants, we would experience the rate of severe disease and death as we did in the first three waves.’

Madhi added: ‘Consequently, there is very little reason for maintaining the current state of disaster and it needs to be phased out as soon as possible.’

Full Cape Times report