What happened in Parliament on Friday when viewed from different angles may leave many taking sides on the issue.
A normal person will agree that Members of Parliament were very much in the right to demand answers from the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng concerning the recent 'secretive' interzonal lockdown imposed just before the Easter Holidays. While there has previously been clear communication on dates when a lockdown would commence and end, this time around, communication was not clear, as to whether we were in an interzonal lockdown or not. There was a statement released just before the Easter Holidays, which was a bit vague, in that it seemed to suggest that movement will be restricted, but it did not clearly come out to state if travel between zones would not be permitted. The statement released by the government read in part: “In order to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting deaths, movement of people during the Easter Holidays will be restricted. Members of the public, who are in possession of valid interzonal permits, are advised that those permits are invalidated with immediate effect (March 30, 2021)." Now you see, restricted and not allowed are two different things. The statement released by the government suggested that movement would be restricted, but not closing down completely. Just before the Easter Holiday, the Online Permit Application portal was not working, with a message, which suggested that the Website was undergoing maintenance. People who had applied for leave way before the Easter Holidays struggled and are still struggling to return to their workstations because the permit system was not working and there was no communication as to where exactly they could go for their 24-hour permits. As would be expected, MPs as the representatives of the people must have been inundated with phone calls from their constituents wanting to know what is going on, and if there is an Interzonal lockdown, how long is it expected to last? MPs were within their rights to ask for an address from the relevant authorities so that they too will be able to give their constituents accurate answers, and it was indeed disappointing for a whole minister to not find the need to keep the house informed and by extension, the nation at large. We know that the government is faced with a mammoth of a task in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and all of us have seen how dangerous the virus is, and totally agree with government that it should do whatever it takes to curb the spread of this deadly virus. But it should be done honestly and transparently. A lot of people are suffering as a result of the aftermath brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19, some have had to close down their businesses, some have lost their jobs etc. The nation needs to know how the vaccine is going to be rolled out because right now it looks like decisions are made as 'we go' without a precise plan.