Covid-19: Out of touch Government gets desperate

By Gerhard Papenfus

Government’s futile attempt at ‘persuading’ its citizens in order to improve vaccine uptake

If Government wants public uptake of their vaccine-drive, they need to produce an effective and safe product, they need to encourage open debate on the issue, and be absolutely transparent about any negative effects of the vaccine. Then Government itself needs to be trustworthy and, above all, they must not underestimate the intelligence of the populace.

Since none of the above elements are currently present, the vaccine-uptake is what it is: the majority of South Africans have lost faith in the 'project'.

The Deputy President recently suggested in Parliament that, in order to increase vaccination uptake, Government would resort to ‘persuasion’ tactics, among others by granting access to sporting events only to the Covid-19 vaccinated. However, this simply illustrates how shallow and morally deprived this Government is, how out of touch it is with events on the ground, and to what extent they underestimate the resolve of people on this issue.

The Deputy President and the entire Government need to know, in advance, that their ‘persuasion’ tactics will have no impact. The lines are drawn; people have made up their minds: notwithstanding Government’s persistent misinformation, the cat is out of the bag - people have lost trust in both Government and its product.

It is also reported that the ANC believes that the country “will be back to pre-pandemic levels if no regulations are promulgated once the state of disaster is scrapped”. Really? The only people that still comply with Government’s state of disaster rules, are those who fell for Government’s propaganda on this issue in the first place. The rest are already living outside the confines of the state of disaster, with no intention to comply, regardless of what is prescribed.

Even the Deputy President mentioned in Parliament that the ‘fifth wave’ will be less severe than the previous ‘waves’. That obviously includes Omicron which, for all intents and purposes, was a ‘non-event’, except for those who wanted to keep the narrative alive.

Therefore, if the next wave is even less severe, how does the ANC come to their conclusion? They are either very ill-informed, naïve, or malicious.

Gerhard Papenfus is the Chief Executive of the National Employers' Association of South Africa (NEASA).