A man walks in empty streets in Johannesburg on the first day of the 21-day lockdown in March last year. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI
A man walks in empty streets in Johannesburg on the first day of the 21-day lockdown in March last year. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI

You’d be forgiven for wondering whether SA is the last thing on the government’s mind.

As the ANC’s top brass immerse themselves in a myopic game of suspension tit-for-tat, there’s a sense that citizens, bracing for a third Covid wave, have been left to fend for themselves amid a shambolic response to the pandemic.

In particular, it should have been obvious that closing SA’s borders to travellers from India — as other countries have done — was a matter of self-preservation in light of our woeful vaccination rates. You’d think that after the past year, our officials would know that speed matters.

Yet, they are only meeting now to discuss an Indian travel ban. It’s too late; that variant is with us. And, it seems, a third wave will soon be here too.

Meanwhile, the real state of disaster is to be found outside the state’s plush parallel universe: on the streets. The R350 Covid grant is long gone, the Unemployment Insurance Fund relief is history, and businesses have only just got back on their feet after last year’s horrors.

As social anxiety mounts, the conjecture machine leaps into overdrive — and that’s something the government could have mitigated, had it delivered even the scantest communication over our nonexistent vaccine rollout. Is nobody writing down last year’s lessons?

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