South Africa’s president and his cabinet will take a 33% pay cut for the next three months to contribute to a fund to help the nation cope with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing the nation Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country is in a situation that demands swift action and exceptional methods, including the mobilization of every resource.
“From across society, companies and individuals have come forward to provide financial and other assistance.
“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,” he announced in a televised speech.
The president said a portion of their salaries will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund, which will help the country and its people deal with the severe economic challenges they will confront in the months ahead.
Ramaphosa also called 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.
The president also announced that the government is extending the nationwide 21-day lockdown by another two weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The curfew requires citizens to stay home except for those working in essential sectors such as health, security, food production and telecommunications.
Ramaphosa appealed to South Africans to be patient and observe the rules of the lockdown if they are to flatten the cure of COVID-19 infections in the country.
He said since the lockdown came into effect on March 27, the rate at which new cases have been identified in South Africa has slowed significantly.
“From 1,170 confirmed cases on the 27th of March, the number of confirmed cases today stands at 1,934,” he said, adding that in the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42%.
The president confirmed that with the ongoing lockdown, the average daily increase is now around 4%.
South Africa has also reported 18 deaths since the virus was first detected in the country last month.
Since appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
At least 1.5 million cases have been reported worldwide and more than 95,000 deaths with over 353,000 recoveries.
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