Parliament, Saturday 21 March 2020 – This year South Africa celebrates Human Rights during a difficult time as the country and the world is gripped by a deadly virus, Covid-19, which the World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic.
As we find ourselves battling with this pandemic, as South Africans, we must always remember who we are and where we come from as a society.
We are a country that respects human life and bestows the right to a dignified existence to all. During this time, we must continue to treat each other with the same respect and dignified manner we have become known for as a country and society.
International Human Rights laws guarantee all humans access to the best possible health care and places an obligation on governments to put measures in place to ensure that this is achieved.
As Parliament is busy processing legislation that will ensure universal access to health care for all, we must all work together, through individual and collective efforts, to turn the tide against this pandemic.
We are confident that MPs, as they go to their constituencies during this period, will spread the message of hope and further galvanise their constituencies behind active steps to help in curbing further infections, promote human rights and access to health care.
We also want to call on all citizens not to fall into the trap of believing fake news during this time. Take time to scrutinise the sources of your information as there have already been peddlers of misinformation, particularly on the internet, to cause panic and confusion during this time.
We commend the government, through Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for publishing regulations aimed at containing the spread. This follows the declaration of the national state of disaster by the President as a result of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. All South Africans are urged to observe these regulations. If we all play our part, unite behind national efforts, we will win.
Parliament has already taken active steps to stop the spread of this virus by scaling down on its work to limit person-to-person contact in order to curb possible infections and the spread of the virus.
We invite all persons and businesses to heed the call by the President and take active steps to protect human life and contain the further spread of the virus in our society. All actions must be taken observing our laws guiding how we uphold human rights and dignity.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6830