The “slow burn” lifting of the economic lockdown is going to leave thousands of businesses in the dust.
So who has the ear of the President? Scientists on the state payroll? Administrators who go unpunished for reckless decisions, knowing their salaries are secure?
If so, that must stop. Let these scientists and administrators feel the hurt that everyone else is feeling. If lobbying for a lockdown, they should sacrifice their state salaries.
This is the text of a letter sent out by Gerhard Papenfus, chief executive of the National Employers Association of SA (Neasa) which makes some valid points:
The gradual reopening of the economy is causing more despondency within the ranks of SMME’s, than what the initial lockdown did.
Globally, more and more voices are publicly stating that the current Coronavirus-lockdown narrative is based on a scientific misconception. However, this is not the focus of this article.
The defences raised to fight the invisible COVID-19 virus, is generally perceived as a ‘war’. Comparing it to a political leader sending soldiers into battle, while he is secluded in safety and comfort, is therefore not unfitting.
Those who advise the President on the current approach towards the handling of COVID-19, scientists, the executive, the COVID-19 taskforce, are giving advice and making these decisions without experiencing the direct financial impact. The one-third sacrifice in respect of salaries of the executive is recognised. The rest, however, are being paid in full, during this period, by the taxes of those who are currently in the process of losing their livelihoods. The anguish being experienced by both business and employees is not experienced first-hand by advisors and decision makers.
Despite the billions of aid provided by Government during the lockdown and beyond, the vast majority of businesses which, after this pandemic has passed, will have to, once more, make the economy work again, will not see any of it.
Being presented with the daily hardships by those affected by the lockdown, the proposal (the word ‘proposal’ is used since SMME’s do not have the political clout to make a ‘demand’) that follows is made in all sincerity.
Before making the ‘proposal’, I want to say to those who are giving advice and are making decisions in respect of the implementation of the lockdown: how dare you require from business and workers, from whom the taxes which remunerate you originate, these inhumane financial sacrifices, while you continue to enjoy your income.
The proposal is that any person, be it a scientist, administrator or politician, either giving advice or making a decision aimed at locking down this economy, either partially or in full, must from that moment onwards (implemented retrospective with effect from 26 March 2020) not receive any form of remuneration from the state coffers. What we ask of you is to “put your money where your mouth is”. “What is good for the goose, is good for the gander”.
If you choose to continue to disregard other views, because based on ‘yóúr’ scientific evidence ‘they’ are wrong, and if you believe in what you expect others to do, then start carrying this burden with ‘us’.