Government needs to ensure that it engages better with ordinary citizens if it wants their co-operation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, says political analyst Tessa Downs.
Downs says it appears that not all efforts to consult and influence government’s decisions are equally received.
The remarks follow yesterday’s announcement that places of worship will reopening when South Africa moves to Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown in June. Only 50 people are allowed to gather at each service. The move followed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s engagements with faith-based organisations.
Level 3 will also see more people going back to work and grade 7 and 12 learners going back to school.
Below are some regulations that will be in effect during Level 3:
Downs says government needs to broaden its communication.
“It seems there are lobby groups and power interests that have more access to the state and the state’s ear than other people in the society, than community members. And so, there is a communication deficit. At minimum, it is the onus of the state to make sure that the citizenry understands what information that they are given. So, I believe a whole lot more needs to be done so that it’s not just the powerful lobby groups and the organised parts of society that have a voice, but that all parts of society have a voice in terms of government and what it is trying to do.”
Currently, there are 24 264 coronavirus cases and a total of 524 deaths in the country.
Below is a breakdown of the current stats: