SA needs a 'Marshall Plan' not ineffective gimmicks and outright lies - DA
Cape Town - South Africa needs a "Marshall Plan" to build coronavirus (Covid-19) treatment and prevention capacity, and government must have the humility to ask the private sector for help, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
"Government’s reintroduction of an alcohol ban and a night-time curfew is simply to distract from the real issue: the utter failure to build treatment and testing capacity. These ineffective gimmicks are an attempt to obscure the truth of our situation, that national government has completely and utterly wasted South Africa’s long and crippling lockdown," DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement following President Cyril Ramaphosa's televised address.
Ramaphosa had broken his contract with the people of South Africa, putting both their lives and livelihoods at risk. Ramaphosa had called on the nation to make huge sacrifices – their livelihoods, their freedoms, and sometimes their lives – to buy time for government to build treatment and testing capacity. The nation answered that call, yet government had nothing to show for it.
"Only one province – the DA-run Western Cape – used the lockdown effectively to build field hospitals. And I mean properly equipped and staffed field hospitals, not rows of beds bought from furniture stores with no staff or oxygen infrastructure. Apart from the one field hospital in the Eastern Cape, built by the private sector, there are no up-and-running field hospitals in the other eight provinces," Steenhuisen said.
The Western Cape government had managed to both successfully augment healthcare capacity and manage infection rates with an aggressive and focused testing strategy. As a result, they had managed to flatten the infection curve and raise the line of public healthcare capacity.
"So while there is spare capacity in Western Cape field hospitals even as infections peak there, the people of ANC-run provinces are left fighting over oxygen, and for their lives, while money allocated for boosting public healthcare haemorrhages under corruption and scooter scandals. Instead of effective testing regimes, quarantine facilities, hospital beds, oxygen and caregivers as infections spike, there is the usual corruption and scapegoating," he said.
The argument that alcohol trauma was putting the system under pressure was simply an excuse and cover up for this failure. Alcohol was the scapegoat, not the reason. A curfew gave an illusion of control, when quite clearly the government had no control over the real issue, which was treatment and testing capacity.
"The DA rejects the ban on family visits. It fundamentally undermines the right to dignity and goes to the heart of what makes us human. How can it be legal to visit a casino or a church service with 49 other people, but illegal to see one’s own family?
"We need a Marshall Plan to build treatment and prevention capacity. Government must have the humility to ask the private sector for help and must learn from what is working in the Western Cape. Every available resource must be rallied to the cause," Steenhuisen said.
- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet