My wholehearted appreciation goes to our essential superheroes who risk their lives on the frontline, to protect our people daily. All of you are giving our citizens a second life by risking your own safety.
My message about COVID 19 is for everyone as we have moved from level 5 to 4 but we still need to be cautious. Remember when man made social media, it caused social distancing spontaneously in a cold way of damaging relationships but when nature came with Coronavirus it restored care and relationships but with social distancing. So nature’s law is different from man-made laws.
Therefore, we must engage in responsible social distancing but not disconnecting. This at a time when a lot of family and friends experienced lockdown weddings, birthday’s celebrations and funerals. If we were waiting for the fourth industrial revolution or 4IR, then it was introduced suddenly by the Coronavirus. Our people must make sacrifices to protect each other. Real face to face contact will take at least a year and a half to become a reality, when a vaccine is available.
Furthermore, communicable diseases which turn into pandemics come in various forms teaching social distancing of different kinds depending on which parts of the human body it enters, be it HIV, MERS, SARS or Covid 19. Therefore, these diseases bring natural enforcement and behavior change which means either adapt or die. Given the above and being a member of the KZN Legislature, we have been working hard daily via virtual meetings that go on for 2, 4 or 6 hours, especially in the Health Portfolio Committee to also ensure that our healthcare system is ready to care for affected people. Therefore, the following is important: It is mandatory to wear good quality washable masks as this disease spreads through droplets via the mouth, nose, and eyes.
If you are back at work, ensure your workplace has guidelines on personal protective equipment or PPEs and social distancing. Most people have to adapt to working from home via videoconferencing. Labor intensive workplaces will be guided by rules negotiated by trade unions. In terms of schooling, my view is that matriculants and grade 11 learners should be the focus, accommodated in rotational or large school hall lessons. I am reminded of platoon schooling whilst other learners must be home-schooled by either parent, as well as guided online using cellphones, laptops, or computers. For this reason, if both parents work, their companies should allow alternate workdays. All workers need to be screened before returning to work. University students should study online but final year students should be allowed contact lectures in a safe and structured way. Similarly, Laboratory and practical or technical studies should be allowed. Parents should look at lessons during this period about what their children should really study and Higher education should have a clear understanding on how to redesign 4IR curriculum.
Our people need to understand that going out for essential activities such as buying food must be done responsibly because we need to ensure we do not get ill as this pandemic may only peak in September for SA. We must also be aware that our public or government health system does not have sufficient bed space or number of doctors and nurses or ventilators to treat many people getting sick at once. We need to take extra precautions for our senior citizens and children, as well as family member’s who are already immune- compromised such as diabetics, renal dialysis patients or asthmatics.
Winter is upon us, lest we not confuse the Flue with Covid 19, hence I hope many of you were able to take the flu vaccine. If not, then treat the Flu as quickly as possible by visiting the pharmacist or doctor. If you know of poor families, please do your share and give them food or other essential items if you have more than enough. This pandemic has taught us many lessons about non-discrimination and the temporary nature of our human life, so help others. In terms of governments obligations during this natural crisis, it is imperative that the Solidarity fund monies is spent on priorities such as food parcels, screening, testing, providing PPEs, reducing utility bills, i.e. Lights, water, and rates, paying out UIF timeously and assisting businesses facing hardships.