Mr President, don’t leave us and our 250,000 livelihoods behind

When the country went into the initial hard lockdown in March, the country stood together in awe of how our government, under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, navigated unchartered and tough waters when our nation was confronted by the novel coronavirus — an invisible enemy.

At the time, our president inspired a sense of patriotism to all South Africans and garnered the support of the country at large, especially from business owners, when he announced the measures which were aimed at preserving livelihoods after having consulted all sectors of the economy.

What followed was a long 35 days of hard, level 5 lockdown in SA. This was an incredibly dark time for the large majority of South Africans, as our economy was bought to a grinding halt. Unless a business’s offering was classified as an “essential service” that business was not allowed to operate, meaning the overwhelming majority of South African business owners stood to lose over a month’s worth of turnover. This brought a large degree of uncertainty to our country, considering the state of our already depressed economy.

Despite the uncertainty faced by South Africans, and the lingering fear of our economy turning into a state of disrepair, we listened intently to our president, and followed his orders during this time. Our president assured us that the decisions being taken were informed by sound advice from scientists who provided advisory services to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC). With this in mind, South Africans humbly heeded our president's call to shut down our businesses and to remain at home as far as possible, all in a bid to allow our hospitals to prepare for the inevitable wave of Covid-19 cases.

South Africans had sacrificed so much in a bid to give our hospitals time to prepare for the incoming “peak” that it was a welcomed reprieve when certain industries began to open, allowing some breathing room for our struggling economy. This instilled a sense of hope in South Africans that we may be able to recover from this seemingly insurmountable setback we had been faced with.

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