The Space Between: It’s not only the lockdown that has affected the country’s morale
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By Ofentse Morwane
The public mood in this country needs a serious injection. It is strained. There are several contributing factors including the lockdown imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged in his last family meeting that many South Africans are suffering from lockdown exhaustion.
Many of us simply cannot wait to live our normal lives.
Sadly, it is not only the lockdown that has affected the morale in the country. The developments in the country’s courts also do not inspire confidence.
Although our former president Jacob Zuma has now entered prison to complete a jail sentence, the National Prosecuting Authority’s efforts to repatriate members of the Gupta family allegedly involved in corruption also raised keen interest following the announcement this week that Interpol issued red notices against two implicated brothers, their wives, and other associates.
To be direct, many people have lost confidence. It is anyone’s guess how this will end. This Guptas’ matter has been dragging on for a long time.
With the local government elections looming, the recent report by the Auditor-General, Tsakani Maluleke, paints a disturbing picture of the state of the municipalities in the country. The audit outcomes remained poor with only 27 municipalities obtaining clean audits.
The lockdown has had a devastating impact on different sections of the economy, which suffered a significant contraction in the second quarter of the previous year.
The current situation does not augur well for the country’s economic recovery. We have had to go to level 4 of the lockdown as we deal with the third wave of the virus.
The unemployment statistics released last month paint a worrying picture. The number of unemployed persons is at 7.2 million.
Statics South Africa said: “The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment increased by 0.6 of a percentage point to 43.2% in quarter 1, 2021compared to quarter 4, 2020. The official unemployment rate (among 15 – 34-year-olds) was 46.3 in quarter 1, 2021. The rate was 9.3% among university graduates.” This is a serious and threatening ticking time bomb.
There isn’t much we can do about the lockdown. It is a necessary act. This virus is deadly. However, there are contributing factors that need the government’s immediate intervention.
South Africans, understandably, do not want excuses anymore. The government will continue to be under pressure by members of the public to meet the high expectations around issues of service delivery. It is, however, not all doom and gloom. There is a need for a renewed focus on enhancing our performance in the areas we are lacking in as a country.
This should help to ensure that the impact is felt by the public, particularly in the previously disadvantaged and poverty stricken communities.
Morwane writes in his personal capacity.