Iavan Pijoos Journalist

The cabinet has approved the extension of the national state of disaster until March 15.

Next month will be one year since the national state of disaster was first implemented in SA.

In a statement on Wednesday, the presidency urged South Africans to use President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday as a “rallying point to turn around our economy, end gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and tackle the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment”.

“The Sona comes at a time when we all have to stand together to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, improve the lives of South Africans and grow our economy.

“Cabinet encourages all sectors of society to work together to ensure a new social compact that will set us on a path to make SA a better place for all,” cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said.

Williams said the government has prioritised the country’s vaccination programme and reassures South Africans that this programme remains on track.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will now be used instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This after health minister Zweli Mkhize said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has proved effective against the 501Y.V2 variant and the necessary approval processes for use in SA are under way.

Williams said cabinet also welcomes the R16bn investment by the Ford Motor Company of SA in its Silverton plant.

“This investment will increase the country’s automotive export output and create about 1,200 direct jobs.

“It forms part of the Tshwane automotive special economic zone that was launched in 2019 to create the biggest manufacturing hub in Africa. It has attracted 12 automotive component suppliers and the construction of their factories has commenced, to the value of R4.33bn.”

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