Fair and Equitable society Chief Executive Office, Nobungcwele, believes the poor are sacrificed for COVID-19
Inequality in South Africa is both saddening and sickening.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has shown that the inequality gap continues to deepen and that the lives of poor people are considered cheap in this county.
The first case in SA was reported on 5 March, this triggered many privileged people to panic buy, literally cleaning out shelves.
Of course, this purchasing power at a whim is a weird flex considering that majority of SAns live hand to mouth.
What infuriates me is the impact that the panic buying has caused on the pricing of essential goods in the supermarkets. There has been a hike in the price of essential goods which is confusing and infuriating.
The group that is financially positioned to better weather the price hike of essential goods is not affected by it (obviously because they are part of the cause since they bought EVERYTHING).
Rather it is the poor who are left to face these consequences despite their inability to make ends meet even under conditions outside a national disaster.
The emphasis instead is on enacting violence on the poor and portraying them as irresponsible and irrational citizens when the government is not protecting the people from exploitation from all fronts.
This is just one of the many ways in which inequality plays out during a pandemic.Yet again, some lives are cheaper than others.
Since the lockdown and the deployment of law enforcement (police and soldiers) there have been multiple accounts of human rights violations, particularly from lower income areas.
Through social media and other news outlets we have seen a circulation of videos and pictures showing the abuse of power from police and soldiers. Unfortunately, there have also been deaths reported as a consequence of this violence.
As someone born and raised in Alexandra township it has been heartbreaking to see some of the images and footage of what is happening in the township during lockdown.
Please tune in to AlexFM tomorrow morning (14th April 2020, 7am) as attorney Tshepho Mojapelo will be discussing COVID-19 regulations as well as how people can ensure that their human rights are not violated.
During this state of national disaster as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak it is important that citizens are informed of the consequences of their adherence or violation of the lockdown regulations.
This is a good opportunity to share information on the importance of adhering to the Covid-19 regulations, while ensuring that people are well aware of the scope of law enforcement and the protection of their rights during such times.
Together we can flatten the curve, and this should not come at a price of the human dignity of others.
By Nobungcwele Mbem, CEO (Fair and Equitable Society NPC)