Reactive nature of our govt leaves people vulnerable – EFF

Fighters say ANC is unable to institute effective travel bans due to its lack of independence

Declaration of coronavirus as a National Disaster

16 March 2020

The EFF has noted the statement by the President Cyril Ramaphosa on the Corona Virus Outbreak as a National Disaster. From the outset, the EFF has condemned the slow response from the state to what was an inevitable health crisis.

As things stand, South Africa has 61 cases of confirmed people who are infected with the Corona Virus, the highest in the continent. It is extremely ironic that a government that has taken an unsubstantiated hostile posture towards fellow Africans for crime, is struggling to take decisive measures to ensure we are safe from this virus which finds expression in South Africa through those who travel or originate from Europe.

Although the President has declared a National Disaster, exposure to the virus within the country has already gained expression. The reactive nature of our govemment will see our people vulnerable to harm and ill heath, with no contingency plan to address emerging Corona Virus incidents. The suspension of gatherings of people over one hundred is a welcomed intervention, but we are concerned as to how this will be implemented.

There is indecisiveness as to how the higher education sector is going to be addressed with regards to the virus. We have not heard a coherent plan as to how public health care facilities will engage those who come forth with symptoms and whether health professionals have been briefed as to how to engage the multitudes of people within higher education.

It is apparent to us that the South African state under the leadership of the governing party is unable to institute effective travel bans due to its lack of independence. It is because we are unable as a country to produce our own cars, washing rags, houses and clothes that we cannot institute bans on nations plagued by the Corona Virus. Our lack of industrialisation leaves us vulnerable to viruses and diseases that are not of our own creation.

The EFF is also concerned by the minimal role that the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) seems to be afforded, at the forefront of the efforts against COVID-19. It is the NICD which must guide our efforts as a nation and ensure that we are sensitive towards infected people.

We call for decisive travel bans against affected nations regardless of their investments in South Africa. We call for health interventions that prioritise the poor, and look to solutions that are people centred rather than profit orientated.

South Africa must avoid large gatherings whether they be social, religious or otherwise. We urge govemment to avail resources to experts to conduct research that will assist in alleviating the consequences of the virus. We call for calm, patience and responsibility by all South Africans in this difficult time.

Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 16 March 2020