Political parties continue to play their role in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Technology seems to be vital in the execution of this task as many are using this tool to communicate, educate and encourage their followers to adhere to the lockdown regulations.
Currently, the number of infections stands at 1 749 with the death toll at 13.
— SABC News Online (@SABCNewsOnline) April 7, 2020
With a little under ten days left of the nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, political parties have been consistent in playing their role in the fight against the pandemic.
The governing African National Congress’ (ANC) spokesperson Pule Mabe says its volunteers have been assisting in getting people to the testing centres.
“A machinery of our volunteers where possible and feasible do work with institutions of state to distribute sanitizers, musks and other essentials including making sure that they play an important role in mobilizing communities where testing sights are being rolled out, so we’ve using our machinery a lot at wards and VD level to also disseminate information necessary to keep members of the public informed.”
PROTECT YOURSELF, DEFEND EACH OTHER, LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER! Let’s win the war against Covid-19 and turn around our economy.
Statement of the Alliance Secretariat#COVID19#CoronavirusOutbreak #ProtectYourself #DefendEachOther #LetsDoItTogether #StayAtHomeSa #StayAtHome pic.twitter.com/sVrf5wByNZ
— African National Congress (@MYANC) April 6, 2020
With reports of fake news and misinformation causing unwanted panic the Democratic Alliance’s interim leader John Steenhuisen has been using the party’s online channel to address this.
“This week the DA’ Shadow Communications Minister Phumzile Van Dam started a new initiative to combat fake news and incorrect information that’s doing the rounds in WhatsApp groups and social media, in the news digital age it’s very easy for misinformation and wrong information and fake forms and fake announcements to whip around the internet very quickly this obvious causes a huge amount of concerns for our citizens and creates unnecessary panic and unnecessary worry and a reminder that as part of the regulations spreading of fake news has been made an offense.”
To help the public deal with the prevalence of fake news, the DA has launched a campaign aimed at educating the public about what fake news is, how to identify it, report it and where to find the correct information about COVID-19. – @zilevandamme #Day12OfLockdown pic.twitter.com/fFWccpp9wo
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) April 7, 2020
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called on non-essential services companies to adhere to the regulations.
” We call upon all businesses who do not provide essential services to please respect the law and adhere to the regulations of the lockdown, if we insist on interacting with one another we will not be able to fight and decrease the increasing infections of the coronavirus, we will not be able to flatten the curve,” says party spokesperson Delisile Ngwenya.
The African Christian Democratic Party was out on the streets handing out hot meals to the poor communities.
“One of the things this pandemic has highlighted is the lack of a strong social support network that is present in our communities especially with all the regulations and directives that are being released by government that has left a gap in our communities and we do need the strategic development processes to include social partners and organizations that are on the ground for them to be part of the strategies to combat COVID-19 and ensuring that social support is available especially to poor communities,” says the party’s Parliament Member Marie Sukers.
Congress of the People’s spokesperson Dennis Bloom says they have been assisting with the dissemination of information.
“We’ve instructed all our public representatives to set up WhatsApp groups with all the contacts in their communities for them to assist and communicate with the people we’ve also asked them to approach local newspapers community radio stations to talk to the people we’ve said to them by doing that they will assist the people with information.”
Another WhatsApp information line has been created, this time by the Freedom Front Plus. “The Freedom Front Plus launched a WhatsApp line to assist and inform the public. We are also utilising our social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook pages to inform the public we’ve also launched projects to assist where there are needs and have distributed necessities such as hand sanitisers,” the party’s Parliament Member Wouter Wessels.
Another party that has been doing its bid is the African Transformation Movement. “As the ATM we’ve been very supportive of all the government regulations on COVID-19 we’ve been sending out videos in different languages and also the content of the videos is modeled on the World Health Organization to make sure that the message is consistent and it’s the right message to make sure that people are safe,” says spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi.
IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa says his party is distributing food to those in need while observing the lockdown regulations.
“We want to thank our leaders who even now are still among communities distributing sanitizers so as well as masks. We also want to charge them in carrying on distributing food especially to those families who only survive by waking up in the morning to go to work on a daily basis.”
In the video below political parties say they have been using social media to inform the public about COVID-19: