I have yet to see a suffering and hungry person in favour of the lock down. I also wonder how many infected people are in favour of the lock down, because they have the virus anyway and would likely like to see their families earn a living. I think it is fair to say the desperate people in this country at the moment forms the absolute vast majority. 

Yet it is an absolute minority making the choices for them, saying to them “No no, you are not that hungry. We are really concerned about you and our people’s health and safety and are acting in your own interest, because you do not know yourself what is good for you. Trust us, we know better. We want you to stay at home and “byt vas”. We are worried that you may get sick. Should you disagree and do not obey, we will have to arrest you though.

Yes, we know that there will likely also not be a job for you to go back to, but trust us, we are all in this together and the lock down is in your best interest. We need to flatten the curve. You can apply for UIF. Yes, they may take quite a few months to catch up with the overload of applications, but we are sure you are reasonable and will understand. Just be patient and bear with us please, as we have a very difficult job at the moment. In spite of working very hard, we have decided to sacrifice a third of our salaries for the next few months, that is about R85000 for me as the state president per month. This amount will go into a relief fund which will be used to buy food for the mmmh, say about 45 million destitude people like you. Surely this shows my commitment to you as my people who voted for me and put your trust in me. But again I must point out the the logistics with distribution is a bit clogged up and not always so easy to get to the people.

Something’s got to give. This is not sustainable. People should not be governed by wealthy heartless individuals who show no sign of connectedness with life in the townships and on the ground.

And yes, I do understand about figures, statistics, maths and logarithmic curves. I studied that. Therefor I know that deferring the curve by locking down was the most fatal mistake we could possibly make, especially because it is even more effective than the experts like Prof Karim expected. We are prolonging the inevitable onset of the virus. Yes, granted we needed some time to prepare, but could have slowed the spread with a media campaign on preventative measures.  Covid-19 will come of course. We cannot prevent that. And that is the point. A lockdown had to be kept back until the virus was much more wide spread. Then a lock down would have flattened the curve. We cannot afford a longer lock down than three weeks, four at the very most if critically needed. Now we have created massive poverty by having this lock down before the virus has properly spread.  When the time comes that we may need a lock down, we will not be able to afford it, and if the government declares it, the masses will ignore it because they will have no other choice.

Simon van Deventer

18 April 2020