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[WATCH] A look at government communications a year into lockdown

26 March 2021 12:06 PM

Clement Manyathela and fellow journalists look at government communications or the lack off during the lockdown.

The government has been criticised for its lack of communication during the COVID-19 lockdown.

It has been a year since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown as part of the country's efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Clement Manyathela speaks director at _Bhekisisa Health Journalism Centre _Mia Malan, senior politics journalist at Eyewitness News Tshidi Madia, investigative journalist at Daily Maverick Pieter-Louis Myburgh and communications consultant Chris Vick about government communications during the pandemic.

Malan says experts did say it would not be possible to vaccinate 40 million people by the end of 2021.

With regards to the roll-out, I think the government could have been transparent. I think very often the Health Department addressed something afterwards.

Mia Malan, Director - Bhekisisa Health Journalism Centre

In my opinion, if they were very upfront in the fact that we haven't acquired vaccines and how our plan would work because they did announce a plan with detail but without timelines but in phases.

Mia Malan, Director - Bhekisisa Health Journalism Centre

Vick says the tone of government communications is concerning.

My biggest concern as a citizen and someone who works in the Covid communication space is what this is doing apart from delaying and creating uncertainty, it is undermining trust in government.

Chris Vick, Communications consultant

Even when there is something positive to announce on the vaccines, the trust level will be so low that no one will believe it, no one will buy into it.

Chris Vick, Communications consultant

Madia says political parties are as frustrated and ordinary South Africans around the vaccines and communications.

In the first few weeks, there was some level of solidarity however that did not last.

Tshidi Madia, Senior politics journalist - Eyewitness News

At some point Ramaphosa was consulting the political parties, at first, the DA let go, then the EFF wanted to let go and later the President let go. A year down the line opposition parties are complaining about not being consulted.

Tshidi Madia, Senior politics journalist - Eyewitness News

Watch the conversation below...

The pandemic came with corruption around personal protective equipment (PPE).

In the early stages, the government did mention they will be vigilant around corruption.

Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Author of ‘Gangster State’ and investigative journalist - Daily Maverick 

Listen to the full interview below...




26 March 2021 12:06 PM

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