Trends, change and recovery 

South Africa beyond Covid-19

Compiled and edited by Pieter du Toit
Production by Alet Law and Yunus Kemp
Graphics by Rudi Louw

Beyond Covid-19 lies turbulence, change and opportunity

By Pieter du Toit

The emergence of Covid-19, caused by the coronavirus, has thrown the world into disarray, challenged the global order and upended accepted norms.

The spread of the disease, first reported in China in December last year, all but dismissed by the US a month later and now spread to every corner on Earth, has hobbled the world’s economy and led to a major medical crisis. And South Africa - emerging from an era of state capture, economic decline and corrupted governance - has suffered great damage.

Trends, change and recovery: South Africa beyond Covid-19 is an attempt at sourcing and distilling a range of theories and ideas to help shape the country after the virus has been defeated.


Economic fallout is ferocious, but health crisis must be focus

By Haroon Bhorat

Ultimately, there are no easy solutions to reigniting a Covid-19 affected economy. It is evident however that addressing the public health crisis is non-negotiable.

Poverty rises, inequality shifts as Covid-19 impact continues unabated

By Servaas van der Berg

Many have to fall back on that familiar South African last resort, the extended family. It will take some time before the full effect of Covid-19, the lockdown and recession will be clear.

A new, fairer economy is possible, but that would mean sacrifice

By Imraan Valodia

That Covid-19, the lockdown and whatever will come after will have had a lasting and devastating impact on our economy seems indisputable.


We have not 'flattened the curve' and our current trajectory is very concerning

By Alex van den Heever

We have not "flattened the curve" with the lockdown, and our current trajectory of new infections, uncontained by the lockdown, is very worrying.

SA's current health system is unsustainable. It has to change!

By Louis Reynolds

Getting through the Covid-19 crisis with the least loss of life and a surviving health system will require the private and public healthcare sectors to work together as a unified, integrated whole.

Pandemic presents SA with an opportunity to design responsive NHI

By Kuku Voyi

Covid-19 has shown that health insecurity affects everyone. As a country, we have an opportunity to put in place all the resources aimed at designing an NHI that will work for all South Africans.

Government leadership inspires confidence that we will beat this virus

By James Arens

I am confident that South Africa's healthcare system, both public and private, will step up to the challenge of ensuring adequate capacity to handle the anticipated surge in Covid-19 hospitalisations.


Economic crisis an opportunity for fearless leadership

By Ron Derby

The winter will be longer and great suffering will follow, but in it, I urge that we use this crisis to define who we are with the playbooks we have in the locker room.

The biggest casualty in the war against the virus will be the economy

By Thabi Leoka

The pandemic gives us the opportunity to transform the economy into a more inclusive and equitable one.

Turbulence after Covid-19 will force SA either right or left

By Koos Bekker

If South Africa wants to reduce its horrendous unemployment and attract investment it will have to adhere to minimum standards of internationally accepted behaviour. No investment grade country in the world grabs assets.

State must abandon its developmental state ambitions and look to the private sector

By Ann Bernstein

Many low priority activities will have to be discarded in favour of a core set of actions necessary to ameliorate hardship and create the conditions needed for faster growth.

This may be the beginning of a new Dark Age and the end of capitalism

By Dawie Roodt

It is possible for governments to change track, to protect lives and property, to stamp out corruption, to become efficient and to serve the country. It is possible, but unlikely.

Mitigating the risks of the complex, adaptive system that is Covid-19

By Norman Mbazima

Most of the risks South Africa faces are not discrete. Rather they are interconnected and form a network of risks with cross dependencies and influences.

Blue sky thinking needed to re-imagine and rebuild the economy

Isaah Mhlanga

Covid-19 has not only emphasised existing fault-lines such as inequality and unemployment, its has added new challenges which makes it even more difficult to address the legacies of the past.


A new normal as politics as we know it comes to an end

By Qaanitah Hunter

There will have to be a new normal in politics where incompetence is not allowed to thrive and where the public interest is at the centre. Politics as we know it is over.

Leadership will determine if we emerge better or worse post Covid-19

By Thuli Madonsela

Will Covid-19 be the moment where we shift towards democratic and collaborative leadership that catalyses a process which heals of the divisions of the past?

Why our political leadership has fallen short in a time of crisis

By Anthoni van Nieuwkerk

President Ramaphosa’s moment of truth arrived when he donned a military uniform minus rank, closely followed by his fumble to put on a face mask. Both are symbolic of his naive belief that well-meaning gestures suffice.

State of disaster a perfect cover for (more) cronyism, looting of relief funds

By Mcebisi Ndletyana

Government leaders have amassed a great deal of goodwill for how they have handled this pandemic, but the internal disagreements over the sale of cigarettes give a hint to persistent divisions and spiteful ministers.

Our lives are not arbitrary, though the government's actions tell us it disagrees

By Nicole Fritz

What the virus has shown clearly is that deliberate injustice and its effects and injustice done without deliberation - arbitrarily - work together to compound suffering and misery

Ramaphosa's government should explain and explain if it wants to build trust

By Mpumelelo Mkhabela

When the public's perception is that regulations are inexplicable or are motivated by reasons not linked to the intended outcomes, confidence in the government is bound to suffer.

Government's credibility waning after years of corruption and indifference

By William Gumede

Long years of government corruption, incompetence and indifference has severely undermined the credibility of government. Not holding the politically-connected accountable for wrongdoing was allowing for a culture of impunity.

When this is over there will be a reckoning of government

By Judith February

South Africa needs to emerge from this lockdown as a society that holds its government to account in more ways, not less, and with citizens at the heart of our endeavours to fix our country.

South Africa's foreign policy priorities adrift in a new World Order

By Darias Jonker

Will Covid-19 be the moment where we shift towards democratic and collaborative leadership that catalyses a process which heals of the divisions of the past?

The political consequences of major disasters

By Theo Venter

If there is a perception that the government acted too slow or not at all, incumbent governments may experience political retaliation at the next election.


Covid-19 exposes that we are not the equal, caring society we had anticipated

By Leon Wessels

Covid-19 creates an opportunity to acknowledge the dignity of everyone. This unequal society was not created overnight; inequality will not be dislodged overnight either.

We must lay the foundations of a more equal, just society

By Elmien du Plessis

Most of us will survive this, although the collateral impact of Covid-19 will affect us each in different ways. It would be good to remind ourselves, when things get tough, that many of us share the grief, the fear, the heartache.

China set to gain greater foothold in Africa post-Covid-19 despite US noise

By Ralph Mathekga

With the capacity to build a hospital in days, China is set to gain from building Africa’s crumbling healthcare system, while the Global North is searching for explanations on how the virus escaped from Wuhan.


The revolution inside and hope's enduring ambition

By Adriaan Basson

We reassessed our hierarchy of needs, and survival always outweighs the rest. To be blunt, we would rather have load shedding than risk dying.

South Africa must deal with what haunts it when pandemic is over

By Adam Habib

It must be remembered that sooner or later we will exit this pandemic moment ... we must ensure that we equitably shared the pain and costs of this pandemic.

Stronger national and global health systems needed to combat future pandemics

By Wilmot James

Using an all-risk approach, the world must invest sustainably in better preparedness, countries must invest more in their health systems and a broader layer of leadership be nurtured with the drive to develop a more cooperative approach to global health.