Lifting lockdown restrictions: Government’s elusiveness spells disaster for economy

FF Plus

Lifting lockdown restrictions: Government’s elusiveness spells disaster for economy
Lifting lockdown restrictions: Government’s elusiveness spells disaster for economy

The government’s approach to lifting the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions appears to be a classic catch-22 situation, where economic recovery is put forward as a condition for lifting the restrictions, while it is clear that the economy cannot recover under the pressure of those same restrictions.

The alarming message behind this is that the government is obviously failing to grasp the severity of the impact that these restrictions are having on the country’s already struggling economy and seems to think that the lockdown can continue indefinitely in the context of a “new normal”.

The FF Plus asked the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in an official written question whether the lockdown would be lifted once the so-called “herd immunity” has been achieved and whether the state of disaster will then also be lifted.

She was also asked to list the criteria that the pandemic situation in South Africa must meet for the lockdown and state of disaster to be completely lifted.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s reply to the first question stated, among other things, that the restrictions and state of disaster will be lifted once the regulations are “no longer needed to protect the public against the destructive effects” of the pandemic. That includes the need for the provision of emergency aid to the public and the “protection” of property.

It is abundantly clear to the FF Plus that the economy cannot and will not recover under the current restrictions and that aid to the public and business enterprises will continue to be necessary in the foreseeable future.

This stance and target of the Minister and government are not realistic nor attainable; the government obviously has no grasp of the destructive impact that the restrictions are having on businesses and the economy in general – while unemployment in the country has reached its highest level ever.

With regard to completely lifting all restrictions and the state of disaster, the Minister referred to the government’s risk-adjusted strategy of 25 April 2020, which basically reiterates the international prescripts of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in broad terms.

It includes epidemiological trends as well as other factors, like the levels of infection and the country’s healthcare system’s ability to handle it.

South Africa currently finds itself on a knife’s edge when it comes to economic survival. And it is all the ANC’s doing as right from the start, the ruling party failed to manage the pandemic properly, while abuse of power was at the order of the day. The people of South Africa are now reaping the bitter fruits of the ANC’s incompetence.

Further uncertainties about new variants of the virus also call into question the notions of natural herd immunity and herd immunity achieved through vaccinations. And according to the ANC, the restrictions will continue as long as these uncertainties remain.

This is unacceptable and the FF Plus will pose follow-up questions to obtain more clarity on the matter. The country cannot be held hostage indefinitely by an incompetent government that is busy destroying the economy.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Fanie du Toit on FF Plus