March 15 is considered an inauspicious day since it was on that day in 44BC that Julius Caesar was assassinated — an act that ended the Roman republic and changed the course of history — after he had been famously warned to “beware the Ides of March”.  One hopes that when President Cyril Ramaphosa chose March 15 as the day to declare a state of disaster in SA as a result of the coronavirus pandemic he was not, like the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, preparing us for a disaster that will change the course of our history.

In addition to declaring a state of disaster Ramaphosa left the door open to the possibility of a state of emergency being called should our national effort lag and not flatten the curve of Covid-19 infections. The state of disaster has been given substance by the state putting in place a number of legal instruments, including the disaster management regulations that came into effect on March 18. ..

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