Have our leaders failed us in the fight against Covid-19

Olievenhoutbosch residents queuing for food parcels. Photo by: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency

The hype surrounding this invisible enemy of Covid-19 has not done us any good at all. The desperate attempts from our leaders all over the world to curb the spread of virus shall forever remain a classic. To put it bluntly, it has been a comedy of errors.

I’ve asked opinions of qualified experts including scientists in the medical field who are holders of degrees to give us the slightest indication of what the future holds for us, in this situation we suddenly find ourselves in. To my amazement, they repeat the same words as everyone else “keep praying”. To imagine that we’ve sent our best children, both young and old, to reputable medical institutions only to learn the art of praying to deal with threats caused by viruses such as Covid-19 is quite disheartening. It is my opinion that the medical field is the only industry struggling to prepare and see the future and as always they get away with offering very little at the expense of the masses. Personally, I’ve less faith in so-called health experts and institutions like the World Health Organisation.

What have we learned in more than 5 weeks of lockdown in South Africa? A lot, I believe, some will say. To a greater extent, we’ve been patiently sitting on couches crossing fingers hoping to hear the so-called “curve” has flattened. As concerned people, some of us are left with only one option – to write. In response to a lot of criticism from different stakeholders directed to the president and his honourable ministers; the president finally decided to reduce his thoughts in black and white citing his reasons for taking necessary decisions or lack of it thereof. This is an appropriate place to state that the government has taken certain decisions in a typical dictatorial fashion. In that light, P.W Botha never left even in death.

There’s no doubt that the poor have been the hardest hit and the lockdown effects is taking its toll on everyone. I have observed with amazement how some leading business people have been venting their frustrations towards the government through various platforms under the guise of “concern for the poor” when in fact they worry about the only thing that matter to them – their bank accounts for profit. In my opinion, with which you are all free to disagree, businesses and the economy must fully open in the shortest possible time. Why should we no longer delay, comrades? This virus is here to stay as far as I know because our experts in the field are clueless as to provide an answer. We need to find ways to work around it by taking a diligent and cautious approach in more ways than one. The greatest need of the moment is practising social distancing, sanitising and ensuring wearing of masks is compulsory to all. This is the only course for us to follow.

These are the three most important things the uniformed forces should focus on and not planting more fear into the citizenry through the use of excessive force and adopting despotic undemocratic practices, including police brutality. Governments and businesses should consider providing the masks free of charge – to ensure everyone complies.

I’ve noted with grave concern that in most places in Europe and other regions, supermarkets have taken it upon themselves to not only sanitise customers before walking into their premises but provide a free face mask for every customer that comes in for shopping. It’s unforgivable on the part of giant supermarkets like PicknPay, Shoprite, Spar and the like, that they have not taken the responsibility of providing face masks. The irony is that these businesses have been allowed to keep their doors open while many other businesses have been bankrupt, and yet they view this little consideration as an expense on their balance sheet. History shall judge them harshly!

Lest I be misunderstood, I wish here to state most emphatically that I still regard the work the government is doing as exemplary. But let’s not blind ourselves to the fact that we’ve got a long journey before us in winning this Covid-19 battle. To constantly lavish praise on every little thing our leaders do is not healthy at this point. They must take corrective feedback. We must put them to the task and they should work hard to gain our praise lest we want to find ourselves in a situation people from all walks of life start saying such things as…“Thanks to the leadership of the ANC we’re going to have rain this year” or “Thanks to the leadership of DA the sun is out today”…”Thanks to the vision of EFF we have more animals in Africa than in Europe.” Seems absurd, doesn’t it?

Together we can beat the collective enemy: Covid-19.