On the 28th of March 2020, South Africa entered a lockdown period for a full 21 days, to flatten the curve of Coronavirus infections. All shops, factories, parks, malls, schools, universities etc, are under lockdown while essential services can still operate under strict conditions.
Although the whole entire country are now at a standstill, we must not forget South Africa was already in a recession before the spread of the infamous Coronavirus. High unemployment of 29%, government debt of 70%, government deficit of 6% and a bloated public wage bill, have literary crippled the South African economy for decades.
The vulnerability and incompetence by South Africa’s government will be fully exposed, as millions of South Africans will be without an income for 21 days. Although the President of South Africa pleads with companies to pay workers during the 21 days of lockdown, I doubt it would be possible.
Furthermore, millions of South African’s are currently lining up for UIF (unemployment insurance fund) to survive for the next 21 days. However, can the system handle the sudden high volumes for millions of unemployed people? Did the department of labour ever conduct a stress test to examine how will the system operate if, South Africa ever get to a crisis point? All systems engage in a stress test or emergency drills, for example fire departments or military personal, always engage into emergency drills, to be combat ready.
The first casualty, Edcon group already threatens not to open it’s doors after the lockdown, which will affect thousands of workers, creditors, banks etc. There are also numerous amounts of companies, which are inline to close if the lockdown continues.
The question we need to ask ourselves: Is it really necessary to lockdown the economy to stop the Coronavirus from spreading?
When it comes to decision making, you will always work with constrained conditions at all times.
South Africa, just like all other countries, have limited resources, so we need to make the best decision in constrained conditions. Locking down the economy is surely not the wisest decision, but a populist decision.
First of all the Coronavirus is confirmed to be a flue, which means it can be an annual event just like influenza that still riddle countries worldwide. Between 6 -11k people die of normal flue every year in South Africa and worldwide, around 600 000 die of some flue. Furthermore over 5 million people get infected by normal flue every year.
Currently Coronavirus caused only 8 fatalities in South Africa and infected over 1500 people. Is Coronavirus really so deadly?
The spread of the Coronavirus is impossible to contain as one person can infect over 56 000 people. Whether we lockdown the economy or not, the virus will spread as it is extremely contagious. Moreover the lockdown method will make it even worse, as the Chinese and Italians reported that, 75% of infections spread normally via family seatings.
President Trump is really under enormous pressure by not introducing the lockdown method, but I must agree with him. He stated clearly that the USA is not build to do a lockdown and rightfully so. The same applies to South Africa. We are a democratic country, yet our government impose overnight laws to restrict people. These overnight laws will cause a major catastrophe.
Moreover, huge jobs were lost before the national lockdown, due to a self-inflicted virus by left-wing politicians. Today more jobs will be lost due to the national lockdown. Moreover Moody’s downgraded, South Africa to junk and finally South Africa’s Reserve bank already took extreme measure to save the ailing banking system.
President Ramaphosa was literary putting a huge tyre around his neck, by locking down South Africa’s economy, because there is no doubt it my mind that it will end up in a disaster, or even a revolution.
There are far better methods to flatten the curve, one country’s method is Sweden. To the contrary, there is not one broadcaster that broadcast the Swedish method, because it is not based on populism. As per Swedish philosophy , “ as long as the virus does not affect children, than we dont have a problem…..”,
“It is not possible to enforce autocratic laws onto an adult, because we will experience the opposite response which will be far worse”.