“Dear President Ramaphosa, We’ve Had Enough” Say South Africans in Open Letters
At the start of lockdown South Africans rallied to support President Ramaphosa, grateful for his leadership in steering the nation away from disaster and tragedy. But now, it appears, many are starting to get impatient… perhaps disappointed by the rewardless transition to Level Four, which – apart from a three-hour jogging window early in the […]
At the start of lockdown South Africans rallied to support President Ramaphosa, grateful for his leadership in steering the nation away from disaster and tragedy. But now, it appears, many are starting to get impatient… perhaps disappointed by the rewardless transition to Level Four, which – apart from a three-hour jogging window early in the morning and a few other ‘perks’ – still bans cigarettes, alcohol and much more; along with serious concerns for the economy and thousands of starving people.
Here are some of the messages that are going viral on WhatsApp:
Gareth Cliff from CliffCentral.com
Dear President Ramaphosa,
I’m going to keep this brief, because I know you’re dealing with a lot:
We’ve all been ready to support you and your administration in your efforts to save lives from this pandemic. Even people like me, who have questioned the idea of a lockdown as the best response have decided to comply and do whatever we could to help. We set aside our concerns over the heavy-handedness of the police and army; we swallowed and accepted that poor people in informal housing would be crammed into their one-room dwellings for a month; we limited our trips to the shops and even accepted not being able to buy hot food (for whatever inexplicable reason).
When you couldn’t put your mask on we laughed and we were charmed to see that you were able to laugh at yourself too. For a time you won everyone over again. You yourself have said that it has taken much for people to give up their liberties, their right to be with family and friends and the ability to move freely around. Our patience and emotional state of affairs are on a knife-edge. We are losing hope.
Governments walk a fine line in times like these, where the regulations not only have to make sense, but also have to have significant buy-in from the public – otherwise people will break them, in big ways and small. South Africans are mostly compliant – but when you promise something and then break that promise, it makes us feel like we should break your regulations in return.
Many of us aren’t afraid of the virus anymore. It’s our health and we’ll take our chances, thank you. We ARE afraid of the havoc your lockdown is wreaking on the economy, on people’s lives and livelihoods. I see fewer and fewer explanations from ministers and more and more capricious, some would say spiteful, regulation. I’m not a smoker – I don’t like cigarettes at all – but when Minister Dlamini-Zuma announced that she was (after a consultation none of us believe happened) going to keep the ban on tobacco products in place, many of us (even the non-smokers) were ready to give her the middle finger – and start risking breaking the rules. There are more of us than there are police officers and soldiers, so if you piss enough people off, things get very hairy. I’m sure those advisers in the security cluster have mentioned that they can’t shoot us all or put us all in jail.
Your government, Sir, have not covered themselves in glory over the last 10 years. Some people in this country already have a taste of anarchy, where municipalities are bankrupt and there is no service delivery. They see no evidence that the ANC will fix parastatals, cronyism, kleptocracy and for once and for all cease their childish flirtation with outdated and failed socialist ideas. Your hold on power depends on people willing to comply with the rules – the same rules they expect you to comply with. Our patience grows thin, and in tandem your tax collection runs dry. When you speak of a social compact, it goes both ways. You have to take your boot off our throats.
When Moses told Pharaoh to let his people go, Pharaoh didn’t listen and there were plagues. We all know how that story went for Pharaoh. You have to start letting our people go Mr President, or this plague will be the least of our worries. Even Moses could tell you that.
Open Letter from SA Expat Helene Waters
Dear President Ramaphosa, It is with a saddened heart that I write this letter to you.
For many weeks now, your courage, bravery, poise and ethics have rendered you the affectionate name of “Oom Cyril”. You have guided South Africa through a perilous storm with a strength that came from deep within.
When you took the responsibility of presidency, you stepped into a position that would be a mammoth task to take on.
Your predecessor’s actions resulted in the people of South Africa having a deep distrust in the government. You took on the responsibility knowing what state of upheaval the country was in.
There was hope, South Africa almost became pregnant with hope as her people watched you steer a ship through a perilous storm and one that the country has still not come out of as the world continues to fight against an invisible enemy.
People are trusting in you to make decisions in their best interest.
You announced that from the 1st May, South Africa would be entering Level 4 of the lockdown strategy and with this, came the promise of the sale of cigarettes. This has now changed and this change has not come from your lips but from those of one of your ministers.
As mentioned before, you took on a position that your predecessor had not held with grace or dignity and in so doing, a culture of distrust was bred through many years of lies and broken promises.
If you should one day, by chance, happen upon this letter written by an expat who was driven away by your predecessor’s greed, lies and absolute disregard for the people of South Africa, know this, it is not so much about the ban of cigarettes not being lifted as much as it is a reminder that the people of South Africa so badly want to have faith, trust and hope in the government and this, Oom Cyril, is a reminder that promises will always be broken.
Please Oom Cyril, think wisely about the council you receive within the political world of South Africa. 2000 votes is not the voice of the people. Restore the trust of South Africa and her people by showing that you can keep a simple promise.
Sincerely, Helene Waters
A vocal rant from Andrea Hartmann
AND WITH A HUFF AND A PUFF, WE ALL ROLLED OVER AND ZUMA BECAME PRESIDENT AGAIN – By Viv Vermaak
The cigarette ban, and the way they have been toying with you is not ‘stupid’ or ‘ridiculous’ or ‘petty tyrantry.”
It is clever, bold and a boot stamping on the human face forever – and remember, that is forever.
The links between the illicit cigarette trade and the ANC and the EFF are well established. They are playing with what is possible, and your dreams of living relatively free. “We did not love freedom enough.”
I do not believe in the cigarette and alcohol ban. I feel desperately sorry for smokers and drinkers, but I shall not be joining any of the Facebook groups I’ve been invited to join this morning to sign petitions against it. You are fooling yourself that you are making a difference because we lack the courage to even think of what we could have, should have done.
And it is not just the ‘uneducated masses’ (ie: poor, black) who are too ‘stupid’ to realise what is happening. It is you. It is me. the ‘privileged’ (ie: white liberal et al). Stop blaming the Karens. It’s the big dicks, the big men of industry. The MD’s of cell phone providers who offer the personal information of their clients to the government, rolling over to take it up the ass without having even been asked for it. The leaders of banks and big business who follow sheepishly as they give it to you in return, hiking prices while pleading hardship. You cannot say anymore that you did not ‘have awareness of the real situation.”
The heroes are the people in townships who are rising up. They are the only true freedom fighters, left. The rest are arguing on Faceboook. Are we going to let them fight this by themselves? Instead of signing your petition, put pressure on big business to show some balls. Let them use their influence and legal challenge capacity to its limits.
Zuma is not stupid. We are all marching, dutifully and by our own choice into the Gulag. The government is not the f*cking idiots, we are. We will deserve anything that happens from hereon forwards. Start thinking differently.
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” – Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago