The President Needs to Give South Africans Answers, says Richard Poplack

Source: Facebook, @GovernmentZA

In an opinion piece for the Daily Maverick, writer Richard Poplak says that the lockdown has been taken over by fear and hatred and that the President needs to give South Africans answers.

Poplak says that the conditions of the lockdown have not helped and has instead turned into a race war and highlighted the economic and cultural war that continues among South Africans.

“The logic of spatial apartheid has been employed to keep the classes separate but unequal, a perfect distillation of the norm, except in extremis,” Poplak writes. He says that while many would have thought that the Covid-19 pandemic would bring change, it has instead enforced the inequalities even stronger.

Furthermore, Poplak criticised the implementation of the curfew. Poplak says that in a democracy, such a restriction on personal freedom should have been backed up through explaining why it is necessary to fight the pandemic, but instead, the government has expected obedience to this regulation without such evidence.

He questions why the government has acted out by constantly sharing information, inflicting violence and why some ministers have been receiving acknowledgement despite their history involving corruption and incompetence.

The writer says the National Command Council has been able to continue to employ policies, expecting that people adhere to them, without being transparent about the reasoning and efficacy of these policies. He writes that the members of the NCC have lengthened this stricter lockdown with the stance that things will improve once it is ended, but instead we will be faced with more crises.

Poplak says that the stimulus packages mentioned by Minister Tito Mboweni and the Solidarity Fund will not replace the adequate policies and governance. This is as many people in South Africa are not able to sustain themselves as their conditions do not allow for it, nor is the increase in grants enough to improve their conditions.

The writer criticises the President saying, that the President’s lack of transparency needs to end and that a new phase needs to begin.

“The seven weeks that Ramaphosa has very successfully purchased to prepare us for the coming plague have now come to an end, and another phase must begin: at all costs, we need to take care of the people on the edge, regardless of what Moody’s might say, while acknowledging that no lockdown is possible in the country’s densest, poorest regions,” Poplak suggests.

He concludes the opinion piece saying that it is now the government’s duty to ensure that the most marginalised people are taken care of “until the virus is done with its awful, inevitable work.”