In Quotes| Dlamini-Zuma says society is divided on how government should deal with Covid-19

24 June 2020 - 11:15 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has spoken about how the government has tried to do the right thing in protecting citizens from Covid-19 while allowing them to earn a living.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has spoken about how the government has tried to do the right thing in protecting citizens from Covid-19 while allowing them to earn a living.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the Covid-19 lockdown has exposed the glaring realities of hunger, poverty, inequality and unemployment in SA.

Dlamini-Zuma, who addressed parliament’s National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Tuesday during a debate on the government’s response to the pandemic, said the health system was better but still not adequately prepared to deal with the virus.

To date, SA has had 106,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 2,101 deaths and 55,045 recoveries.

Here are seven quotes from Dlamini-Zuma's notes from the debate on Covid-19.

Public health challenge

“Nothing could have prepared us to deal with this virus, not since the Spanish flu has the world been confronted by a public health challenge of this magnitude.

“The infection rates, because of the nature of the virus, have been accelerated.”

Glaring realities

“The virus has placed in our faces the glaring realities of hunger, poverty, inequality and unemployment faced by our people. We can no longer afford to hide from these realities.

“The perpetuation of apartheid spatial planning has also continued to locate our people far from the places of work and access to essential goods and services. Where they happen to have to access essential services and basic food, the costs are high.”

Increase in gender-based violence

“With the lockdown gender-based violence also increased. This requires a society-wide and effective response. The virus has also exposed our ineffective production methods and choices.

“We have not sufficiently marshalled our industries to support and back our development ambitions, despite us aspiring to be a development state. The shortages of medical and health-care supplies as well as PPEs, are a good example.”

Reopening the economy slowly

“As we eased the lockdown, the president said we must not ease it in a rushed manner because when we get a surge (in new infections) we will not be able to deal with it.

“We moved from the hard lockdown, level 5, to now at level 3, where we have pretty much opened up most of the economy, and we are going to enhance level 3 where more parts of the economy are going to be open, as the president announced.”

Major challenge 

“Funerals have been such a major challenge as these necessary events have proven to be venues of high transmission.

“Another challenge has been interprovincial travel, which has also proven to be a high-risk transmission factor.”

Listening to communities

“We have listened to the people. Some challenges are raised by the communities which we may have overlooked because this is the first time we are dealing with this.

“As the president said, it's like crossing a river. You feel it as you cross, sometimes you slip and falter, sometimes you find firm ground, so we have been very flexible.”

Divided society

“We have faced litigation which believes that we have been far too reckless and should have not eased any of the original restrictions.

“On the other hand, there are those who believe we have been too stringent. Society is divided on how we should deal with this virus.”


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