Some call them “parole hearings” or “family meetings” that every so often bring us together to hear the answer to the question “what next?” in this unfolding drama. Last week we had two such meetings within two days of each other, one to outline the economic plan and the “sequencing” of policy measures to mitigate the unprecedented economic effect of Covid-19, and a second to share, in the immediacy of the moment, how the economy would be reopened in a phased-in, “risk-adjusted” process.

The reference to these announcements as family meetings rather than being a remark from the timeline of a witty upstart comes from an earlier and much-publicised period of crisis in the US and the world. It draws from the Roosevelt “fireside chats” that covered everything from the Great Depression to the banking crisis and the Allied war effort during World War 2. President Cyril Ramaphosa communicated the same self-assured, determined and informed approach to containing a virus that is said t...

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