These are miserable times for South Africans as the coronavirus infection rate continues to accelerate and the impact on our economy is growing, says Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) chief executive Busi Mavuso.
Writing in a weekly newsletter, Mavuso said that she was concerned that the people of South Africa are increasingly feeling that government is not on their side.
“As people become more desperate, dangerous confrontations are a serious risk,” she said.
“There is palpable anger among us all. Some of it is inevitable – this disease is tearing its way through our society and economy.
“But there is a sense that government is too easily bent by powerful lobbies rather than acting clearly in the best interest of all of us.”
Mavuso cited scenes of police using water cannons against protesting restaurant workers in Cape Town while ‘caving in’ to the demands of the taxi industry and education unions.
“The sense of alienation from government was compounded by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech to the country on the same day of nationwide protests by restaurant workers in which he did not mention their plight,” she said.
“Instead he announced that public schools will be closed for four weeks, further damaging the outlook for our children and constraining the ability of parents to work.
“While the president asked for understanding, it was difficult to give when he didn’t comment on the obvious suffering of those whose livelihoods have been undermined.”
Mavuso added that the reasons for the alcohol ban have also been clouded in secrecy, with no consultation having been undertaken with the liquor manufacturers or traders, or the restaurant and taverns industry.
“Two things are now clear to the public: Decisions are being made without their concerns being listened to, and when they then take to the streets to protest and make their voices heard, they are being met with state-sponsored violence.
“It surely cannot come as a surprise to government that when it makes decisions behind closed doors, that have a damaging impact on people’s livelihoods, the result is going to be protest action.”