OPINION: President acted decisively

Columnist Phiri Cawe

Dear Mr President,

Allow me to express my utter most dumb opinion on what you have been telling the country. But before I start with that, know that I fully support your fight against the coronavirus. The lockdown of this country is a very good decision that should have been done three weeks ago. Mongameli, this is long overdue. I cannot imagine the devastating effects of this killer.

Allow me to ask a stupid question again. Where have the Oppenheimers and the Ruperts been all this time?

Do you want to tell me all these years, they were not aware that millions of people are sleeping without a proper meal? Anyway, tell them enkosi with the change they gave this country. It could be a billion each but to them that is nothing. I imagine euros not rands in their bank accounts. When you announced that, I thought I was pap-dronk until I wrote this piece after 12 hours of your highly appreciated directive.

Let me revert back to you. Hats off to you Mhlekazi obekekileyo though your delaying can kill. You were decisive and I saw many on social media sharing the same sentiments. But Mongameli, I have a few concerns on my part. In my narrow thinking, I think you’ve delayed us.

You’ve delayed us from the day this virus was announced to be hovering all over the world. You were consistent in telling us not to panic. You should have told us from the onset to be ready for this calamity. By now, we would not have been floating in this mess.

Again you are still pleading with us not to stockpile food. You are still saying we should not panic. Are you serious about that? Let me differ with you there. It is time to panic. It is time to find solutions. I am panicking. I had sleepless nights the day I heard that Italy was truly struggling. When her president cried, I cried too.

Mongameli allow people to panic please. Should they do that, they will take care not only of themselves, but the nation as the whole.

The timing of this really puts us in a very tight corner. Had it not been for it, I would have driven to Sterkspruit to be with my sister whose granddaughter is nowhere to be seen. She is only 15 Mogameli, but I cannot leave the province, let alone my shack. Right there Mr President, a girl child is still in danger in this cruel country. However, that is a topic for another day.

With the lockdown, we thank you and some of your cabinet ministers. I have come to the conclusion that there’s nothing that we can do but to follow your directives and be optimistic and maybe pray. Unfortunately I cannot pray.

Another community in a tight spot is the forgotten community, that of the homeless. How are you keeping the homeleses indoors? How is the country making sure that they stay healthy? How do you save those poor lives? Homeless people are us, they are part of us.

The last concern for me is what everyone is talking about: washing hands and sanitisers. How are people from Island informal settlement in Makhaza, people from Delft, from Baccle’s farm in Ntabethemba, from Umlamli in Sterkspruit and those from Botshabelo in the Free State going to cope knowing that they are without water?

But I commend you Mongameli for trying. You are really trying to save our lives. I am not going to lie to you and say everyone around you thinks the same. I will not lie to you to say the municipality will exempt those who owe water bills. I have seen a press release last week – our municipality talking about temporarily suspending new water restrictions for those who are in arrears with their municipal accounts and facing debt management actions.

Last weekend there were people in our poor areas waterless for two days. It is a pity you cannot be everywhere, but if one of your trusted mates can visit Delft come this weekend – you won’t believe what you’ll see. There won’t be water.

It has been like that for years now. They always stockpile water.

Kakade Mongameli, what will happen to job seekers; I mean the recycle collectors. Let us see how they are going to cope.

In conclusion Mhlekazi, let me give you my recommendation for us to be successful – from 6pm, load shedding until 8am. My neighbour is a nuisance with music playing, the volume up so high, day and night. Make him suffer at night at least.

But Mongameli let me assure you, we shall rise. We shall rise higher. We will conquer it even if it is after a year. When we conquer this pandemic you will thank me for my stupidity.

To the South Africans, here is a verse for you. I hardly read the Bible but many of my friends made me read this verse, especially as our lockdown starts on March 26 2020.

The verse is from Isaiah 26:20, which says “Go home, my people and lock your doors ! Hide yourself for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed. “

Let us be one people, unite and conquer Covid-19