"The current world order as we know it will be altered, hopefully for the better."
So said Deputy President David Mabuza in an address to the National House of Traditional Leaders on Tuesday.
Mabuza said traditional leaders would play an important role in disseminating information to rural South Africans on the novel coronavirus and the measures taken by government.
He said citizens needed to know that Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu had announced that government had brought forward the date for old age pension and disability grants to 30 and 31 March, and other grant categories from 1 April.
Coronavirus: Stay where you are says health minister as SA'S cases rise to 709
"It is clear that, with the numbers of confirmed infections in South Africa on the rise, our screening and testing procedures should be stepped up. While, so far, most cases of infections have been mainly confined to urban areas, it is only a matter of time before coronavirus pandemic reaches, and if not prevented, possibly also overwhelm our rural areas," he said.
Internal transmissions have also been on a rise, with Mkhize saying that his ministerial advisory team - which consists of scientists - was now working on refining its definition of who is tested, from those with a history of travel, to who have been in contact with them, and vulnerable areas.
The deputy president welcomed the decision by the Eastern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to suspend initiations.
"Ultimately, the risk of exposing our young men to infection whilst practicing the age-old tradition, is far too high to ignore. Practising social distancing, is the most effective way to contain the spread of the virus."