Anger growing over regulations that are contradictory or even illogical and others that are draconian for their own sake
SOUTH Africans entered Day 2 of Lockdown 2.0 today with a little more anger and a lot less acceptance of the national quarantine – not because of cabin fever but because of the confusion, double standards and the arbitrary nature of some of the regulations governing this unprecedented time.
The success of the first 21-day lockdown period, which was widely observed, was achieved because of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership, reinforced by the alacrity with which he acted when some members of his own Cabinet broke the rules.
The government is able to enforce these regulations because of the basic understanding that they are for our own good. That narrative, however, is starting to be frayed by the continuation of regulations that are contradictory or even illogical and others that are draconian for their own sake.
The continued prohibition of tobacco is only fuelling the underground trade in contraband. The government is losing hundreds of thousands of rand in tax, while the ban on the transportation of alcohol is stopping the export of wine and liquor to foreign markets (which is actually permitted).
The rationale for the lockdown was to prevent the spread of a virus that could devastate our country, but not enough thought was given to the mental health of those who have to endure it, evidenced by the spike in distress calls to suicide prevention bodies.
As people become desperate, they will break the regulations to sate their addictions or because they can’t see the point. When that happens, because there simply aren’t enough police or soldiers to enforce the quarantine, we will have anarchy.
The only way this will work is if everyone buys into it. The government needs to recognise and respect this by lessening some of the more draconian regulations, fixing the illogical ones and ensuring those that remain are enforced uniformly. Otherwise this national sacrifice might well amount to nought.