It’s easy to say…

Igsaan Dramat, Lotus River

I find it very fascinating how people can make statements just because.

Taking our current situation, it’s easy to say “extend the lockdown, we must make a sacrifice”, if you are in your home with everything you need, you have a nice bank balance, no debt on your house or cars, you still have an income, your job is safe, no livelihood challenges.

For the non-smokers and non-drinkers it’s easy to say that the ban must be upheld; for educators to say that schools must only reopen once a vaccine becomes available; for government employees to say they will work from home or will only go back to work when physical distancing is not a prerequisite, and we can continue with the easy sayings!

Let’s see what happens if: You, as the breadwinner of the family, are informed by your employer that the company is considering restructuring all departments, and some employees will lose their jobs, or an employer is being hassled by his landlord for rent that he is unable to pay because of no income during lockdown, or you have to close down your business, your employees are bothering you for UIF payments that you didn’t receive yet.

Take the following classic example: Educators and their unions are advocating for the safety of staff and pupils at schools before they return. This can mean until a vaccine is available. So after all considerations and attempts to ensure safety at school fail, the Department of Education decides to close schools for the rest of the year. All staff connected with education, including officials, educators, office bearers, support staff, will therefore be closed and the money in the budget for education will be redirected to the Department of Health. Our front-line workers are in desperate need for adequate personal protective equipment because they really deserve it. They do their work unselfishly (Their safety should not be compromised).

Can you imagine what the response will be? The unions won’t get their monthly subscriptions from their members. The result of this will be that the unions will chase educators back to school. Educators will be up in arms because they won’t have and income and therefore unable to pay their home loans, cars, policies, medical aid and so on (keep in mind that many school governing body staff have already not been paid and if schools are not opened, they will have no income because parents won’t pay fees if their kids are not at school). If the department decides that all pupils must repeat the year, can you imagine the outcry?

Yes, it’s easy to say “lockdown” but take time to think of the person with nothing in his house, or is unemployed or whose job is on the line, or the person who might lose his business, or his house, or his car, or his job. The anxiety is just increasing.