We listened attentively to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent announcements regarding stricter regulations governing our lives in the face of the exponential increase of Coronavirus infections in South Africa.
The United Democratic Movement Youth Vanguard (UDMYV) has noted that the President couched this decision as being necessary to relieve the pressure on our healthcare system. An immediate ban on alcohol was also imposed, because of misbehaving citizens who land in hospital due to alcohol related injuries and this takes up much-needed bed space.
What we do not understand is that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was super confident that our healthcare system was ready to deal with an enemy that has felled first world countries’ healthcare systems. Now the President, in so many words, admitted that our healthcare system is in fact under severe pressure and is not ready, as there is, for instance, still a serious shortage of more than 12,000 health workers.
We hear of hospitals that have no water, staff who receive substandard personal protective equipment, bulk Covid-19 infections of hospital staff and how fear and anxiety are causing panic among them. To make matters worse, we understand that analysis of the coronavirus’ genome sequence found a mutation, which makes the virus more infectious than the original strain; we better hope and pray this mutation does not happen in South Africa.
The mysterious National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and Cabinet are making and breaking as they please and never unpack their decisions satisfactorily. We therefore call on Parliament, as the oversight arm of the state that holds the executive to account, to investigate our healthcare system’s state of readiness. Who was speaking the truth when? Something is severely wrong here.
Lastly, the UDMYV feels strongly that the NCCC must go back to the drawing board and eliminate some inequalities in their regulations. If children are forced to go back to school and risk coronavirus infection, Parliament must, with immediate effect, suspend its hybrid model of sitting, and all Members of Parliament must go back to their benches to work. We do not understand why it is different strokes for different folks.
Where we do agree with the President is that we must unite in making sure that we win the fight against the coronavirus, it is indeed in our hands (quite literally) and no one will help us, except us.
Let us spread the message to wear masks and wash hands and hold each other accountable, we need to be responsible not just for ourselves, but also for others; especially the frontline healthcare workers who daily put their lives on the line to take care of ours.
Mr Yongama Zigebe
UDM Youth Vanguard