Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

There was general optimism and confidence in our government when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that SA would be going into lockdown on March 27. The government’s decisiveness in ensuring that we flatten the curve and mitigate the devastation of the pandemic was embraced by all political parties and stakeholders.

But now there is serious concern that the wheels are coming off. There are a lot of voices from the business sector and some political parties suggesting we should cancel the lockdown outright. The DA is taking the government to court in an attempt to force it to abandon the lockdown or move to less restrictive levels. Calls are growing that the economy must be opened to prevent a jobs bloodbath and allow growth.

It all began with the ministerial briefing at which ministers were supposed to give details of the measures related to each sector of the economy. That was when the message started becoming confusing, with ministers contradicting each other, and the statement unbanning the sale of cigarettes being retracted.

In any crisis, clear and coherent messaging is key to inspiring confidence. The government must once more take the public into its confidence on all information related to the pandemic, including views from experts in the health sector.

The curve hasn’t flattened yet, as we are witnessing in other countries. We need to work together as a nation to fight the coronavirus. Key to that will be leaders who inspire trust and the confidence that we as a nation are up to the challenge.

Mafika Siphiwe Mgcina
ANC Sedibeng task team co-ordinator (writing in his personal capacity)

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