South Africa’s Lockdown Is Especially Severe

The COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa started on March 27, 2020. With the announcement of the lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa also implemented a national state of disaster. Before the lockdown, the country’s economic growth hovered between one and two percent. More than ten million people were unemployed. Given the incredibly harsh lockdown that was imposed, and the myriad irrational regulations that have come with it, it would not come as any surprise if, post-lockdown, the majority of those in South Africa who could work, will be left unemployed. It turns out that here on the southernmost tip of Africa, the cure will very likely be much worse than the disease.

There are different levels for South Africa’s lockdown. At time of writing, South Africa sat at level four, with level five being the ‘harshest.’ The thinking that permeates all levels is that of white-listing: everything, every product, business, and social activity, is to be presumed banned, unless a government minister or department announces that it is once again ‘allowed.’ Ostensibly the aim of the lockdown was to prevent the quick spread (or peak) of the virus; however many scientists, including the country’s epidemiologist-in-chief, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, have indicated that the lockdown may well have already served that purpose.

Police and military brutality have flared up. The alleged assault of Collins Khosa at the hands of members of the SA National Defense Force (SANDF) stands out. Collins later passed away and at time of writing, the High Court had ordered the suspension of said SANDF members without pay. An investigation is currently underway. South Africa’s history is marred by abuse of citizens by police as well as the armed forces. To see it manifest again is deeply concerning for anyone worried about the future relationship between the state and the people.

After an abrupt about-turn, e-commerce was allowed to resume. While most in-person business activity was prohibited, and this move enjoyed some support, it made no sense for e-commerce to be banned as well, especially if the companies involved can take the necessary preventative measures. Surely it stands to reason that one would

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