Coronavirus: South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announces 33% pay cut for himself and members of his Cabinet

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a temporary 33 percent pay cut for himself and members of his Cabinet for the next three months as he extended the country’s coronavirus lockdown by another two weeks.

Ramaphosa made the announcement In a live broadcast to the nation on Thursday night, saying the initial two-week-long lockdown, due to end on April 16, has now been extended until the end of April.

“Unless we hold to this course for a little longer, the coronavirus pandemic will engulf, and ultimately consume, our country,” he said.

“In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42 percent. Since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around 4 percent.”

He said this represented “real progress”, although he acknowledged that “a better picture of the infection rate” would emerge only after the expansion of a drive to screen, test, trace and treat people.

“We are only at the beginning of a monumental struggle that demands our every resource and our every effort,” he added. “Simply put, if we end the lockdown too soon or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease.”

The president also announced 33% pay cut for the next three months for himself and his deputy, as well as ministers and deputy ministers. He said the money will be diverted towards social and economic relief measures to help the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In support of this effort, we have decided that the President, Deputy President, ministers, and deputy ministers will each take a one-third cut in their salaries for the next three months… We are calling on other public office bearers and executives of large companies to make a similar gesture and to further increase the reach of this national effort.”