FILE PHOTO: Nokuthula Thwala helps her nephew, Ayanda, with school work while using a candle during load shedding in Soweto. Picture: Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Nokuthula Thwala helps her nephew, Ayanda, with school work while using a candle during load shedding in Soweto. Picture: Reuters

Straight talk always best bet in SA

By Editorial Time of article published Mar 14, 2020

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South Africans have been hit by continued load shedding and rising Covid-19 infections this week, exacerbated by municipal reconnection failures and viral fake news on social media.

But no one is running for the exits - yet.

There might be noticeable sense of humour failures as the power remains off past the scheduled time or irritation as sports fixtures in the northern hemisphere are cancelled to curb the spike in infections, but the mood in the country is generally upbeat, unlike other parts of the world where mass panic and paranoia seem only a tabloid headline away.

Our attitude towards load shedding seems a far cry too from the same scourge that has dogged us not just since Christmas but as far back as 2007.

What is common to both is the clarity in communication and the apparent transparency and honesty of those managing these phenomena.

The Department of Health has set new benchmarks in this regard, while Eskom has been resolute and unequivocal in its engagement with a public often understandably liverish about perennially being left in the dark.

Therein lies the rub: We, South Africans can accept being literally left in the dark, but never figuratively.

Don’t take us for fools, don’t offer platitudes, give it to us straight - and honestly.

And counter-intuitively for official spokespeople the rewards will be manifold: a public that will not complain when it knows the truth, a public that will not kick against the traces, in fact a public that will look to see where it can actually contribute in a tangible way towards a well-defined and generally accepted common good.

The lesson for our country’s leaders should be crystal clear - how ironic that it would take a compromised energy situation and a global pandemic to drive it through.

Let’s hope they’ve been taking notes.

The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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