The euphoria and optimism including confidence that we had to our government when President Ramaphosa announced that we going to level 5 of lockdown was welcomed by all and sundry. The decisiveness that our government took in ensuring that we flatten the curve and ensure that we mitigate the devastation of the pandemic was embraced by all political parties and stakeholders.
We were all in unison that the steps taken by the government are important and necessary to ensure that most people are not infected and we are able to fight the pandemic as the nation. Now there’s a serious concern that the wheels are starting to come off. There’s a lot of dissenting voices from the business sector and some political parties that we should cancel the lockdown outrightly. Some political parties particularly the DA has now taken the government to court in an attempt to force the government to abandon the lockdown or move to the levels that are not stricter.
There’s also a growing call that the economy must be opened to mitigate the jobs bloodbath and the economic growth that is stagnant. It all began with the Ministerial briefing that ensues after the President has announcement where Minister is supposed to give details on measures that will be taken by each and every sector of our economy and what’s a form of regulations govern that aspect.
The briefing by the Minister created confusion where they contradict each other including the retraction on a statement made such as the banning of cigarettes and the chicken risottos. In any crisis messaging that is clear and coherent is key to inspire confidence to the public particularly when that message comes from esteemed ministers.
Therefore government under the leadership of President Ramaphosa must once more be able to take the public in confidence on all the related information including the experts from health fraternity. The curve hasn’t flattened yet as we are witnessing in other countries around the world. We will once more need to work together as the nation in fighting the Coronavirus. Key to that will be our leaders to once more inspire trust and confidence to the nation that we are up to the challenge in confronting the Covid-19.
Let’s not lose the momentum that we had when the first lockdown announcement was made by the President. As said by the President that all the sectors of the economy including all political parties and stakeholders will be consulted on the levels of the lockdown including moving the country to level 3. The battle ahead will be difficult we need all hands on deck and our government must earn the trust of the citizens as we fight this invisible enemy called Covid-19.
By Mafika Siphiwe Mgcina, is the ANC Regional Task Team Coordinator in Sedibeng on his personal capacity.