With a “jobs pandemic” hanging over the heads of business owners and thousands of households feeling the stranglehold of an ailing economy, the actions of the government and government agencies need to be questioned.

The roughhouse tactics employed by the SAPS during last week’s protest action in Cape Town by the restaurant and tourism sectors was uncalled for. Yes, it is against the law under lockdown regulations to hold public gatherings, but business owners do have a right to have their voices heard.

But firing water cannons and forcing peaceful protesters (who were adhering to social distancing) to flee does not give the impression of listening to grievances, but rather that of ignoring the plight of those desperate to help save jobs.

The broad strokes with which the government bans and unbans the sale of alcohol, persists in its decision to ban the sale of tobacco, and continues to fail to address the growing backlog in promised government assistance is becoming too much for the average South African to bear.

The vast majority of South Africans are in full support of all lockdown regulations that help curb the spread of the virus. We have shown our good faith during the Level 5 lockdown and now it is time for the government to reciprocate.

We urge government to listen to the sage advice of business and community leaders who are seeing a pandemic greater than Cocid-19 on the horizon. A willingness and commitment to engage with all stakeholders in preparing razor-sharp and effective methods to curb the spread should be the order of the day, rather than the current broad-brush approach that does not benefit the country.

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