NEWS & ANALYSIS

Govt has no idea how to handle COVID-19 crisis - AfriForum

Urgent medical solutions need to be found, instead of forcing political solutions onto society

AfriForum: Government has no idea how to handle COVID-19 crisis

12 January 2021

Following Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation tonight, AfriForum is of the opinion that government does not have an idea how to handle the COVID-19 crisis. In order to fight the virus, urgent medical solutions need to be found, instead of forcing attempted political solutions onto society. 

AfriForum and Solidarity’s case against the government regarding the proposed monopoly on the purchasing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is now of utmost importance. These organisations have already instructed their legal team to prepare a case on this matter. This action aims to ensure that people who wish to get the vaccine, aren’t prevented from doing so as a result of mismanagement and corruption.

According to Ernst Roets, Head of Policy and Action at AfriForum, one would of course expect a responsible reaction to the pandemic – but the government’s misuse of the virus to obstruct citizens’ basic rights is inexcusable. “The President makes it clear that the government has no idea how to react to the virus. We have reached a point where arbitrary regulations are being enforced on society and people who contravene them are arrested, while the money earmarked for fighting the virus is pilfered through corrupt activities. All the while, there is no evidence that these arbitrary regulations can in any way effectively limit the spread of the virus. There is however evidence that the economic lockdown leads to massive job losses and food shortages.”

Some of the arbitrary regulations referred to by Roets include the blatant racial discrimination against small and medium enterprises, the regulations relating to clothing and cooked meals that were enforced during earlier stages of the lockdown, the fact that people were forced into quarantine facilities that did not comply to basic standards, as well as the closing of beaches, leading to crowded malls. Corruption was also rife during the pandemic and a preliminary investigation indicates that approximately R10,5 billion that were meant for COVID-19 relief were misappropriated since the start of the pandemic. 

Issued by Ernst Roets, Head: Policy and Action, AfriForum, 12 January 2021