FAIR AND EQUITABLE SOCIETY (FES) CALLS ON CITIZENS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT TO REMEMBER THE ‘REAL’ ENEMY
Fair and Equitable Society (FES) is saddened to see videos and pictures emerging of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and South African Police Service (SAPS) allegedly involved in acts of brutality against civilians. These are videos that exacerbate the view that police are in cahoots with the military to “skop, skiet en donner” anyone who does not obey the regulations related to South Africa’s 21-days national lockdown. While we must caution residents against breaking the lockdown regulations, we should also remind law enforcement that their orders are to fight the spread of COVID-19, not the civilians they come across.
While we are keen to see more people inside their houses, we call on the Minister of Defence, Nosive Mapisa-Nqakula, and Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to clarify to their members that it is not against the regulations to be in your house with your family enjoying yourself; and that the colour of your skin should not be a determinant of any privilege when it comes to the lockdown regulations. Furthermore, we would like to note that we are aware that the Ministry of Police is currently overwhelmed with many cases pertaining unlawful arrests. It is crucial to understand that the real enemy here is the Coronavirus – not each other.
We have also got to reiterate the call made by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, when they instituted the National State of Disaster – to hunker down and not go anywhere. We encourage residents who want to live to see a fair and equitable society to actually prioritise their health so that we can all fight for that society.
Your voice is needed and we will not get there without you – so live. Stay at home so you can live.
We also want to call on law enforcement agents to remember that civilians are the real VIPs in this entire debacle. They are scared and some are confused – a gentle answer turns away harsh reactions. Equally, we call on residents not to aggravate the situation by being rude towards law enforcement – disobeying direct requests to do what is legal, is breaking the law. We must rise above self-interest and petty privilege and other complexes to get through this lockdown period a more united country – rather than one that is divided into places where Black people are made to roll on the floor by other Black people, while Black domestic workers are taught how to wash their hands and some Whites in the Western Cape continue with their braais on the street corner unattended. This is not the Fair and Equitable Society that we want and even in the Corona Lockdown – we will fight inequality wherever it may rear its head.