Last week I decided to put up a poll on Twitter. Now I am not claiming that there was anything scientific about it and I have no idea about the demographics of the random group I polled other than they all have access to the internet. However, I did get 1 728 votes within a 24-hour period and that’s good enough for me.
The question I posed was this:
During an emergency like Covid-19, there has to be a social compact and trust between the people and the government to do the right thing. Do you trust our government?
1 I have no reason to
3 I’m undecided
I deliberately worded the first answer in this way to help explain any reason why the answer might be no. Call it leading the witness if you wish.
The results were as follows:
92.5% voted that they have no reason to; 1.9% expressed total trust in our government; and 5.6% were undecided.
We are now almost into our third month of what must rank as one of the most illogical and draconian lockdowns in the world and it’s pretty clear from the results of that poll that an awful lot of people are gatvol. That may not be entirely due to the lockdown, though, so much as the way it’s been handled.
As the poll question suggested, for this unprecedented curtailment of our freedoms to have any credibility it would need buy-in from the people. But that’s not the Command Council’s style. Their preferred modus operandi is to produce pages of pointless rules and then announce that they are law as from now. No discussion is allowed (other than among the members of the Command Council) and no explanation is given.
Nobody appears on television to explain why the sale of open-toed shoes could be seen as high-risk when it comes to spreading the coronavirus. In fact, our rarely seen president seems to be avoiding us as much as possible and, even when he does address us, he says little. Even his former cheerleaders are finding very little to cheer about these days.
No country has got this completely right, but some have done far better than others and that has been because they have communicated. But you can only communicate with your citizens if you have something to say, and if you don’t hold them in utter contempt.
The South African government’s approach has been hugely contemptuous of the country’s citizens. Even highly respected medical experts who dare to voice an opinion that the lockdown has outlived its usefulness will find themselves publicly humiliated by a communist health minister who obviously ‘knows better’, and interviewed by what seems a half-wit embedded journalist employed by one of the state propaganda organisations.
When it comes to contempt for the people, though, one must hand it the ANC; they believe in equality and can dish it to rich and poor, black and white, young and old alike.
What we do know is that the ANC central command aren’t swayed by any economic arguments and are apparently quite content to see businesses go bust and tens of thousands of people lose their jobs.
They are also unmoved by any argument that starvation may soon be stalking the land to the extent that anybody attempting to feed the hungry without the necessary permit will be subject to a huge fine and a criminal record. This would be seen as utter madness in any civilized country, but here in South Africa it is our new way of life.
I suppose, thinking back on it, that the wording of the first answer in the poll was loaded. After all, what possible reason could anybody other than a state beneficiary have for trusting our government? They’ve presided over the bankruptcy of most state-owned institutions, they have allowed the country to be milked of trillions of rands and yet many of the crooks still hold high office within the ANC, and are making the barmy rules that govern our movements and our daily lives.
If anybody seriously believes that Mama Zuma wants a ban on ciggies and alcohol to continue all the way to level 1 purely on health considerations, then perhaps they should see a shrink. Mama Zuma has a long history of dodgy behaviour going way back to her Virodene and Sarafina 2 days.
It’s now been well-established by investigative journalists that the illicit cigarette trade is doing a roaring trade and the illicit booze business probably isn’t far behind. Meanwhile R1.7 billion a month is being lost to the tax authorities. But why would that matter if there are greater benefits accruing to well-connected cadres in the ANC?
The names that cropped up time and time again during the Zondo commission (remember that?) hearings are the same names that are telling you and me what we can wear, what we can buy and when we can go out.
I think we can all safely assume that those mentioned during the Zondo hearings have nothing to fear. It’s becoming clear that the Zondo commission was just a delaying tactic to give the impression that the house was being cleaned while the last of the family silver was disappearing out of the back door.
Not being allowed to buy cigarettes or liquor is dismissed by the embedded lefties as a ‘white middle class problem’ despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. But having to get up at four in the morning to join a long queue at the SASSA offices in the hope that you may be able to collect some money in seven hours’ time definitely isn’t. Neither is waiting with hundreds of others in the long snake that may or may not deliver the only meal you will eat that day. All because the government won’t allow you to earn a living.
I wonder whether any of these people would have seen any reason to trust their government? Somehow I doubt it.
[Picture: Viktor Talashuk]
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR