The enforced lockdown in South Africa has been taken with mixed reactions. Some citizens admire Cyril Ramaphosa for implementing the tight lockdown but berated by others. South African president is now facing a tough leadership test over the coronavirus outbreak.
South Africa, the most industrialized nation in Africa, is planning on reopening its economy on Monday after a five-tier lockdown.
Africa’s most industrialized nation had already stepped his foot into recession in the last quarter of 2019. This was before the virus hit the continent.
Unemployment is above the roof while the rand depreciates each day. Since January, the rand has depreciated by 22.9 percent.
“Initially, there was such an enormous support for this thing,” political analyst Ralph Mathekga told AFP, referring to the shutdown.
“But the government allowed that goodwill to erode… it struggled with the problem of legitimacy when people became irritated with the lockdown measures.”
Democratic Alliance, the dominant opposition party, has accepted the move half-heartedly while saying that it came too late for many South African citizens who have already paid heavily.
John Steenhuisen said that the lockdown is costly, and the president should see how to end it as soon as tomorrow. In his speech, he specified that the lockdown is costing the economy around $742 million a day.
Malema, the head of the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters party, opposed the easing of the lockdown, saying that the president had resigned as “the captain of the ship.”
The hardship walks
Cyril Ramaphosa is facing tough times, not to mention after promising to revive the economy. He is not with any choice to make but chose either to maintain public health or continue with his journey to economic recovery.
“There are businesses that will close and not come back,” Sifiso Skenjana, chief economist at management consulting firm IQ Business, told AFP.
Many South African citizens have struggled to get by and are still struggling despite the $26 billion coronavirus relief package and food parcels.
There is panic within the nation as it is around the world. South African National Treasury has warned of job loss and a decrease in wages and salaries by about 30 percent. They have estimated that around 2.5 million jobs could be lost because of the pandemic.
Although all the criticism Cyril Ramaphosa is facing now, there are some people who are recognizing his exceptional leadership. He started the lockdown early, which has saved a great number of lives.
“Some of the actions we have taken have been unclear, some have been contradictory, and some have been poorly explained,” he said in a recent address to the nation.
The president even took it on the chin when he bumbles fumbled with his face mask during the speech. This fueled all kinds of social media jokes.
“I am going to open a TV channel where I will teach people how to put on a mask,” Ramaphosa told reporters after the incident. “You can enroll.”
The ongoing cigarette ban remains a hard-on issue and the tobacco companies up as an illicit cigarette market out blooms.
The BATSA launched legal action to challenge the government as far as the cigarette ban is concerned.
According to British American Tobacco South Africa, the government is losing $2 million per day because of the ban.