Good Supports Tightened Lockdown Regulations

Statement by Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary-General


13 July 2020

Much as we oppose the principle of a so-called nanny state over-regulating its citizens, there are no rational arguments against the necessity to tighten our defences as the coronavirus peak looms.

In the battle to balance the interests of saving lives and saving livelihoods, in response to the pandemic, South Africa was forced to make serious concessions to the latter by re-opening the economy.

With the pandemic spreading rapidly, but still to peak, tightening lockdown regulations should apply a measure of a handbrake.

In normal circumstances, GOOD 100% supports the right of South Africans to practise their freedoms of movement and choice of beverages without interference. But these are abnormal times. The old SACOS war-cry, No normal sport in an abnormal society, has to apply.

There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of people who consume alcohol are responsible and law-abiding citizens, but there is equally little doubt that banning consumption will reduce pressure on hospital emergency wards.

As we move towards the peak of the pandemic, it is incumbent on each and every South African to play their individual role in slowing the spread of the virus – particularly to elderly people and those with existing chronic diseases.

Government has had since March to prepare, and must match the sharpening of the lockdown regulations by improving its own performance. We need to see more progress with the development of required health infrastructure, consistent implementation of health protocols, and efficient use of health funding.

News of social relief grants not being paid, provincial governments purchasing unusable “prambulances”, and allegations of missing coronavirus funds, are evidence of government shortcomings in delivering its part of the national compact.

GOOD welcomes the announcement of the distribution of funds by the Solidarity Fund. The aptly named fund is a critical safety net for many South Africans living under severe economic strain.