Fault lines are starting to show as the battle to save lives and livelihoods endangered by Covid-19 intensifies. Like any crisis, the pandemic has offered SA’s governing party elite an opportunity to dream up cure-all solutions for the socioeconomic ills it has failed to solve over the past quarter of a century.

A fortnight ago finance minister Tito Mboweni spoke of efforts to refashion SA’s economy and promised it would look different once the coronavirus had been defeated. Yet in the news briefing, the only example of note about the features of the new economy was the nationality of staff employed by restaurants. When Mboweni returned from exile, he said, restaurant workers were predominantly South African, and now are predominantly foreign nationals. The implication was that post Covid-19, this demographic make-up would be reversed...

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