Fatigued public need your guidance, Mr President

Sea Point promenade in Cape Town was opened to joggers, walkers and cyclists, and they came out in numbers early on May 1 2020.
Sea Point promenade in Cape Town was opened to joggers, walkers and cyclists, and they came out in numbers early on May 1 2020.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

Hello, Mr President. Where are you? As the fires of rebellion burn stronger amid lockdown fatigue and the irrationality of some of the restrictions, you have kept quiet.

As the embers of discontent glow ever brighter while people lose their jobs amid the collapsing economy,  you have stayed silent.

The public’s willingness to fall in line with the rules is waning, with some openly advocating for defiance of the restrictions.

There is a lot of anger and the pushback is getting real.

The stated aim of the initial three-week lockdown was to ensure that hospitals and other health facilities were ready to deal with the anticipated spike in coronavirus cases over the next few months.

Then it was extended for a further two weeks, for the same reason, and people reluctantly accepted it.

But as the lockdown was eased to level 4 on Friday, public goodwill has rapidly been eroded by the heavy-handedness of the security forces, some of the crazy restrictions and the reversal of the lifting of the ban on the sale of cigarettes on a whim — based on just 2,000 submissions out of a total 70,000.

In the meantime, nearly 500,000 people have signed a petition calling for the ban to be lifted.

The sudden about-turn, based on less than 3% of  submissions received, according to Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will not go unchallenged, however.

Tobacco companies and others are set to launch legal challenges this week against this and some of the other seemingly irrational restrictions.

The rulings on which businesses can open on the different levels have also raised the ire of the public, with the beauty industry in particular up in arms.

How is it acceptable  for hordes of people to stand on top of each other in various scenarios, yet a hairdresser, barber and other beauty practitioners, who rarely have more than three or four clients at a time in their shops, are not allowed to reopen until we hit level 1?

There appears to be no rational basis for  destroying these small businesses — and destroy  them you will.

If  you have a good reason, please share it with us.

Under the new rules, exercise is allowed for just three hours between 6am and 9am. 

Of course, the promenades, roads and other open areas will be packed if everyone is expected to exercise in that narrow window of time.

Spreading it out over the  whole day would have made far more sense.

What is the rationale in trying to condense it into just three hours?

Again, please share it with us.

When a government starts trashing people’s civil rights and  tries to keep them in line with threats, the people start pushing back.

People are starving, they’re cranky, they’re watching the economy tank and their jobs disappear, and they are peeved that they are being treated like children by some of your increasingly arrogant ministers.

They need you to step up and address some of these burning issues.

But the one question they are asking, and  they really want answered, is:  Who’s in charge, Mr President?