Fiery exchanges expected as Ramaphosa to take questions from MPs this afternoon

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be replying to questions in the National Assembly at 2pm on Thursday, 18 June 2020, regarding the government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sitting will be conducted in a hybrid form in order to comply with social distancing measures, with a small number of members present in the National Assembly while the rest on a virtual platform.

This will be the first time the president replies to questions in parliament since the national state of disaster was declared in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

Ramaphosa will update parliament on the national effort to contain the Covid-19, including public health measures, social relief, economic recovery, on the Covid-19 budget and a range of related matters.

The president will be taking questions from members of parliament about what measures the government has put in place to accelerate the recovery of the South African economy.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, will ask the president for details of the scientific risk assessment the command council relied on with regard to the modelling used to predict the number of deaths.

Meanwhile, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema will seek answers on whether the president had been lobbied by any persons to ease the lockdown for business to resume operations, despite the lack of preparedness in the workplace and public healthcare services.

During his national address on Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa announced that cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen, as well as casinos, hairdressers, and non-contact sports will be allowed to resume, as long as they adhere to "specific and stringent safety requirements".

He said that restaurants, hotels and guest houses, and other hospitality services will also be able to resume business soon.

The president also bemoaned the violence being unleashed on women and children in recent weeks.

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