While overburdened hospitals turn away critically ill patients, Ramaphosa prattles on about this country being a high-tech beacon for the continent’s vaccine hopes.
Dream on, Cyril. That fantasy is in the same league as a Fourth Industrial Revolution powered by Eskom.
SA’s low vaccine ranking
Addressing a World Health Organisation (WHO) press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, Ramaphosa enthused over South Africa hosting “the first messenger RNA technology transfer hub for Covid-19 vaccines”.
By Monday, after blunders and delays, a mere 0.8% of the SA population had been fully vaccinated, while 2.79% received one dose. In Canada, the UK and Israel, more than 65% received one dose.
South Africa’s low vaccine ranking is a result of incompetence and corruption, rather than any fault of competent nations. Our bewildering vaccine history induces severe cases of Mego (My eyes glaze over).
BEE a ‘fig leaf’
And yet, with a little help from the French, we are suddenly going to be vaccine leaders. Yeah, right. Here’s the rub of the hub.
It is threatened by the umpteenth wave of the plague that has weakened South Africa for decades: ANC-style black economic empowerment (BEE). The official WHO announcement on the new arrangement is opaque but it does mention a “South African consortium”.
Sound the alarm.
Any South African government-approved consortium will be BEE. That’s official ANC policy since 1997, with disastrous consequences. BEE is a fig leaf for cadre enrichment.
As former ANC national spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said in 2007: “I didn’t join the struggle to be poor”.
State-owned entity failures demonstrate the ill effects of cadre-enrichment.
But there are also Covid examples. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen comrades ripping off the system in myriad ways, getting rich off others’ suffering.
If there’s money to be made from WHO pharma deals, cadres will be first in line. Gauteng is desperately short of hospital beds. Yet, four hospitals are beset by water problems.
Charlotte Maxeke is closed and the scarcely used Nasrec field hospital has been decommissioned at a total cost of R250 million. The auditor-general found irregularities in the contract. True to form.
If the ANC were competent, rather than bumbling thieves, there’d be more confidence in other important matters, too, such as property rights or gun ownership.
Delusions of competence
ANC-led land reform has been plagued by corruption from the outset, including allegations against “Luthuli House comrades-in-farms”.
Money allocated to land reform has been mismanaged. Incompetence stalks the land.
This cannot be fixed by tampering with the constitution to appease the land-grabbing EFF. If the ANC were competent at managing safety and security, there might be more acceptance of the latest gun control proposals.
But because the ANC is incompetent and because it insists on deploying cadres in every strategic portfolio, gun owners have no faith in the system which limits their rights to self-defence.
Delusions of competence cannot sustain a proper Covid vaccination programme or land reform, nor protect us from violent criminals.
We need competent, honest leaders. And Ramaphosa needs a dose of reality