South Africans generally agree that our “hard” lockdown is necessary to slow the spread of Covid-19. It allows medical centres time to prepare for the anticipated peak infection rate. But, in this effort to save lives, our already weak economy is left in tatters, with businesses closed and not really sure when they can open again. 

When it comes to the R500 billion socio-economic support package, which includes social grant increases and food vouchers, there are nagging questions: can we trust the government, with its track record of corruption, to resist the temptation to loot the billions of rand, to stop stealing food parcels intended for the needy, to distribute the Solidarity Fund money efficiently, to hold over-aggressive police members to account, to rewind new state laws once the lockdown is lifted? We asked some of our Supporters what they think…

Arnold Spies, Centurion

“Just look at the ANC-led government’s history. Looting and mismanagement are widespread. But that doesn’t mean they would be planning a military dictatorship or anything like it – that’s just paranoid. Even on a good day, South Africans are a tough bunch to control.”

Helen Muller, Pretoria

“The virus is revealing the government’s true character. The army is crawling the streets, police assault citizens in broad daylight, they control where we go and what we buy. And we are warned to comply, or else. This is a virus that we are all trying to deal with, not a military war!”

Ebrahim Padachy, Lanseria 

“In times like these, the public must hold the ruling parties to account more than ever. Don’t let the police and army trample on your rights. Citizens, the media and our laws must ensure that SA remains a democracy.”

Candice Burnett, Gauteng

“No-one knows how to control the virus or the social fallout that comes with it. More and more people will be hungry, and there will be more rioting and looting. Right now I’m okay with the increased police presence and support from the army. I think the unrest is only getting started. We need a presence – a show of force – or else our country could so easily fall into anarchy.”

Curtis Moodley, Roodepoort 

“I’m a small-business owner. I have no idea whether I will get through this. I just hope they won’t steal all the money that has been set up for this crisis. Something good has to come from this.”

Jacob Mathibela, Pretoria 

“How can you trust the ANC when we hear about them stealing food parcels in front of the very people who vote for them? And now R20 billion gets allocated to municipalities because they have ‘reduced revenue’ due to the lockdown, but we all know they are corrupt and inefficient? Someone needs to call them out – that’s why civil society is so important. We need a voice for the masses.”

Tumi Ndou, Nelspruit

“When the lockdown was announced by the President, I supported him because I understood why we needed it. As the weeks went by though, I’m getting concerned. Cyril’s doing a great job, but some of his ministers are too heavy-handed and dogmatic for my liking. They seem to be driving their own personal agendas, not really listening to the mood of the country. They make arb decisions – no warm food; you can buy tinned food, but not a tin opener; a complete ban on alcohol sales – these just don’t make sense. I hope their egos are not too big to reverse some of these decisions.”