Voices

The Covid-19 crisis has taught us one thing: We do have good leaders

2020-03-22 20:07

As citizens of an ambitious democracy, there is a lot about the state that we can criticise.

There was much the Mandela government felt short on, the Mbeki government messed up, the caretaker Motlanthe administration decided on and the calamitous Zuma government (if you can call it that) buggered up.

Early into his tenure, there is a lot that the Ramaphosa government has failed us on. So yes, as citizens we have a lot to be grumpy about.

But when the government does right and fulfils its obligations to citizens, we should acknowledge it. We might believe it is what ministers and public servants are paid to do anyway and that it is not necessary to praise a fish for swimming. But that would amount to being mean with praise.

By the time Covid-19 arrived on our shores it had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Nearly 100 000 had been infected and thousands in about 150 countries were dead.

The government’s handling of the Covid-19 coronavirus is a case in point. When the global outbreak was making its way to our shores we feared the worst, given our government’s less than illustrous record in dealing with day-to-day governance. As we saw numbers rise in highly advanced countries, there were doomsday fears about how ready our country was to deal with what was turning out to be one of the worst catastrophes in modern time.

By the time Covid-19 arrived on our shores it had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Nearly 100 000 had been infected and thousands in about 150 countries were dead.

Our fears were exacerbated by the recognition of the dire socioeconomic circumstances of the majority, which could only make the challenge greater.

Thankfully, the government has acquitted itself in leading the nation during this crisis. Led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and other ministers, the government has been exemplary in transparency. It has brought the message home starkly, cognisant that while this might cause panic the truth should not be hidden.

Read:Cabinet’s crisis plans to deal with coronavirus likely to include travel bans, airport closures

As plans were rolled out and implemented at breakneck speed, there were no false promises. The clarion call has been that the only way to defeat this enemy is by protecting ourselves and one other, and jointly working together to ensure that its passage from body to body is as difficult as possible.

Now, imagine if they ran the country like that in the absence of a crisis.


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March 29 2020