THERE WILL BE A BACKLASH
by Gerhard Papenfus
It is starting to bubble on the surface, but the people are still patient.
Instead of calming the mood, the envisaged relaxing of the lockdown has increased the discontent; and not suppressed or relieved it by any stretch of the imagination. Totalitarian leaders will tell you that their biggest mistake was the relaxation of their totalitarian grip on their population. In this respect, populations are strangely ‘ungrateful’.
South Africans are still living in the euphoria of the lockdown, the sacrifice to save lives, the false economy created by Government aid, the food parcels, the R350.00, the ‘right’ not to pay rent, without the danger of being evicted, the temporary sense of purpose created by the hype.
Although there are people who are without food, who now suffer more than usual, the harsh economic reality of this lockdown has not even remotely set in. It is when life returns to ‘normal’, when people breathe normally and shake hands, when commitments and accompanying demands return, but without the ‘normal’ economic abilities we once had, only then will the harsh reality start kicking in.
When the food parcels and the increased social grants disappear, when those who sustained many family members with wages, find themselves without work; when the full impact of the downgrade, then the Coronavirus, followed by the sharp drop in GDP strike home, that is when the true impact of the lockdown will surface.
That is when the scientific models which informed the current lockdown approach will be questioned; when ordinary people (like the author hereof) come to their own conclusions and weigh up the cost of the lockdown. It is when the scientific views of other scientists, currently completely ignored by decision makers, are suddenly broadly recognised and ordinary people conclude that the COVID-19 mortality rate is not the 1 or 2/100, as we were made to believe, but perhaps less than 1/1000; even far less.
It is when people realise that, although COVID-19 did claim lives, so will poverty and famine. It is then that the lives versus economy narrative will no longer be sustainable, and people will realise that it is, and always was, a matter of ‘lives versus lives’ – the economy is also about lives.
It is then that the backlash will come; when the current heroes will become the villains. By then the food parcels, the extra grants and the R350.00 will be all forgotten and the ‘hand that provided this interim relief will be bitten’.
For more information:
NEASA Media Department
We are all in this together.
Privileged and challenged to be South African.