Has the Lockdown in South Africa served it’s purpose?

There is strong debate amongst many South Africans whether the Lockdown implemented from midnight 26 March 2020, should continue. While a few adjustments have been made as from 1 May 2020, bringing it down to Level 4, generally SA continues with the lockdown. There are indications that it will be taken down level 3 by June 1st

So, can we afford to continue with the lockdown, where the economy is beginning to suffer badly and the projection is that soon many businesses may close, with the result that our unemployment could rise to 50%? No less a person than the SARS commissioner, Ed Kieswetter, has recently told parliament that for every business that closes, it will take 1000 entrepreneurial attempts for one business to succeed in it’s place.

There are other compelling augments that suggest that the gains of Lockdown may soon be undermined by a tsunami of its economic implications. See article.

“It is time for the government to realise there is nothing more it can do. It is up to South African citizens to now take responsibility”. This was the message from infectious disease specialist and member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Health, Professor Shabir Madhi. 

The inconvenient truth of the matter is that Covid-19 will be with us at least for the next 12-18 months or until a vaccine is found.

It bears mentioning that most of thle voices that have expressed a view on the matter of discontinuing the Lockdown are the usual suspects – those that have voice. Kieswetter is a SARS Government commissioner with eyes on the national purse. Business argue feverishly for reopening the economy because the face the collapse of their businesses. Trade unions call for reopening because they are watching the number of contributing members. Churches call for reopening because they have one eye on the weekly and monthly offerings. All these are organised formations with a voice. Who speaks for the voiceless and non organised poor, since they tend to be the ones most likely to die? Or does it even matter?

Some ethical questions to ponder

  • Who stands to loose the most from a continued Lockdown?
  • Who stands to gain?
  • What should churches advocate for at this time? 
  • Opening SA in risk adjusted ways as per current government strategy?
  • More rapid opening up?

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