We cannot trust our politicians completely with the truth around this virus.
Testing of hundreds of taxi drivers and queue marshals in Ivory Park, Midrand. Photo: Twitter @MbalulaFikile
I am shocked that some naïve people believe almost religiously that Covid-19 is coming to an end with the much-anticipated move to lockdown level 3.
The day is looked upon as if it’s another Uhuru or 27 April 1994 – short of celebratory freedom songs and a bit of Madiba magic.
I must confess I am not as enthusiastic as many with regard to the country moving to level 3, not when our political leaders and their circle of scientific advisors concede that the worst is yet to come.
They estimate the peak of the pandemic infections and deaths will probably be around September. The haunting images of stacked coffins and overflowing sick-beds in Italy, Spain and other Eurozone nations, come to mind.
But there is visible desperation by our authorities to get the wheels of the economy turning, even at the expense of many lives.
The economy seems to be a preoccupation of the powers-that-be. Added to that is the pressure from the captains of industry and the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, to open up the economy.
There seems to be a mad rush to ease the lockdown as some can’t wait for the puff and the tot, hence the tobacco barons will not give up the fight to see their products in the market.
As political analyst Somadoda Fikeni put it: there is something about the cigarette industry that makes our politicians weak at the knees. “There is a tendency for them to speak with forked tongues ignoring the plight of all other economic sectors to try please the tobacco guys, some of who survive on illicit activities.”
Fikeni’s assertion begs the question: could it be that the Economic Freedom Fighters is not the only one to have its hands greased in smoke-filled rooms in the leafy suburbs, but others as well? The jury is still out on that one.
We cannot trust our politicians completely with the truth around this virus, especially when it comes to the economy and those they perceive to be the real economic players. What do you make of them, at the beginning, telling us not to wear face masks but then backtracking a month or so later?
Of course, it’s all too late for many who took their first word that a mask was not necessary in the early stages. It’s worrying that even those who should know better keep on guessing about what should be done about this disease.
There is a need to use various expert resources to advise on the virus rather than a sole reliance on the panels around Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, the National Coronavirus Command Council and/ or President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The picture painted by Shameem Jaumdally of UCT Lung Institute about the Western Cape and what lies ahead for SA around Covid-19 is scary. According to this expert, the province is “probably a snapshot of what we will soon see in many other urban/peri-urban settings over the rest of SA”.
Jaumdally says when we move out of a strict lockdown, we should expect numbers to hike sharply.
“More people will get infected and sick. More people will get exposed and will require isolation,” she says, as she further cautions that “you do not need to have underlying health issues to be incapacitated to a significant extent”.
In the light of this, it is our right to ask if our authorities, with their eyes open, are taking us on a kamikaze pilot trip that will end tragically – or are they merely playing a political game with our lives?
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