President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that all public schools must close for four weeks did not come as a surprise. It is indicative of the influence that trade unions have on the government's decision-making and it is a simplified approach to a complex problem.
The decision is disappointing because schools went to a lot of trouble to ensure that it is safe for them to open and to protect their Covid-19-free status.
As was the case with most of the government's decisions regarding the regulations, this approach is irrational and makes no sense seeing as it is not based on proven research or scientific data.
The government's decision regarding schools raises the question of why the schools where there are no positive Covid-19 cases must close as well.
It is understandable that parents are hesitant to send their children back to school. Therefore, parents must be allowed to choose whether or not their children should go back to school.
The impact of this decision on the academic field will still be felt years from now. According to the President's announcement, the current academic year will spill over into the next academic year, which will have consequences for successive academic years.
The President's announcement that a new coordination centre will be established to investigate Covid-19 related fraud and corruption is welcomed. It is, however, a crying shame that corruption amounting to several billions of rand has already been committed with emergency funds during the pandemic.
The President promised months ago that corruption will not be tolerated. His statements in this regard will be no more than paying lip service if offenders are not arrested and duly prosecuted.
The epidemic corruption, exploitation of the government by tenderpreneurs and misappropriation are all indicative of a serious political problem. The ANC government has established this culture and through its policy and legislation, it creates an environment in which these abuses flourish.
If the President really is serious about combating corruption, he must get his own house in order first and take appropriate legal action against politicians who are involved in irregularities. It is not only officials who are guilty of corruption, but oftentimes it is also high-ranking political office-bearers.
The government's management of the Covid-19 pandemic leaves much to be desired.
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