A lockdown in its current format will cause an economic implosion. Considering this, the trade union Solidarity this weekend made comprehensive proposals to President Ramaphosa and relevant Ministers on possible changes to the lockdown measures.
In its memorandum to the President, Solidarity makes proposals for smart lockdown measures so that South Africans can live and work well and in good health, while fighting the coronavirus fearlessly.
More than 1 800 South Africans contributed to the development of these proposals by Solidarity.
According to Solidarity, the current format of the lockdown is not sustainable and adjustments are necessary for the sake of the economy and the fight against the coronavirus so that the focus on combating the spread of the virus does not cause the danger of spreading poverty.
Solidarity says its proposals give content to the President’s remark that we should look at how economic activity will be phased in again.
Some of the proposals include amending regulations in such a way that it is possible for people to work who are healthy and able to work.
In die memorandum to President Ramaphosa, Solidarity says that every effort should be made to enable South Africa’s workers and entrepreneurs to earn an income to protect vulnerable and lonely citizens in South Africa, while maintaining peace and stability.
Solidarity proposes comprehensive measures to ensure that people can work well. These measures include strict hygiene regulations, protective equipment, rules around social distancing, changed working hours, regulation of numbers in the workplace, workplace testing and other risk restrictions.
The purpose of Solidarity’s proposals is to enable people, during and after the lockdown, to work well for the benefit of the employee and the South African economy.
Solidarity also made proposals for amendments of regulations to enable people to work well during and after the restriction.
According to Flip Buys, Head of the Solidarity Movement it is necessary to make a shift from only essential workers to everyone who can work well. The choice is not between health and work, but for a healthy work environment for as many as possible people.
According to Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive Officer of Solidarity, the coronavirus will be with South Africans for a long time still. We need to find a sustainable answer for healthy work environments. If people cannot work, it will place so much pressure on any lockdown that it will implode. For a sustained fight against the virus, people must be able to work in healthy environments. We must be fearless against the virus and fearless towards the economy in order to limit the long-term impact on both health and the economy.
Solidarity also suggested that a smart lockdown should be applied. International examples, such as the USA, Italy and China indicated that the virus is concentrated in certain parts. If the lockdown is focussed on risk areas, medical, social, safety and other resources can be focussed especially on these areas. People in other areas may be allowed to move a bit more freely to enable them to work and live well. China in particular was successful with smart lockdowns by focusing on Wuhan and Hubei.
According to Hermann, the continued lockdown with its current restrictions can result in a boiling pot, which may lead to the lockdown being broken in an undisciplined manner, which will place great pressure on security forces, stability and the fight against the virus. Smart restrictions so that people can live, and work well can bring all South Africans together in the fight against the virus.
Read more about this:
- A letter to the President and relevant Ministers, written by the Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, Flip Buys. Click here
- A memorandum to the President and the relevant ministers, indicating Solidarity’s support for a new form of lockdown which balances both health as well as economic concerns. Click here
- A proposed Code of Good Practice – measures to ensure healthy decent work during and after the Covid-19 lock down and pandemic. Click here