The covid apparatchiks would do the apartheid regime proud

Ideas

The covid apparatchiks would do the apartheid regime proud

If you thought SA was a real democracy, lockdown is a wake-up. Its authoritarian rules should be ringing alarm bells

Mary de Haas

The authoritarianism in Covid-19 regulations is just the latest manifestation of this growing trend in governance, marked by a culture of secrecy and extensive powers given to ministers.

It is not surprising since many parliamentarians and executive members supported the passing of the notorious Protection of State Information bill in 2013. From their conduct and utterances, some apparatchiks would serve with distinction in totalitarian regimes. The “new” regime is looking suspiciously like the old, except that the deep divisions in society are based on class and not race.

The National Security Council established by the president in February 2020 mirrors apartheid’s State Security Council and legislation increasing the powers of authoritarian traditional leaders would do the old regime proud. The militaristic language of the lockdown media statement issued by the KwaZulu-Natal premier on April 19 sounded like a declaration of martial law. In the early 2000s, when rural communities beset by violence begged for army patrols, the then government refused to deploy soldiers for civilian policing...

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