News | Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted on the way government functions, but should coronavirus attack the country’s leaders, it could rob citizens of good people, analysts say.
A total of 298 days into lockdown, the government has been forced to adapt to conducting business virtually.
The lockdown shut parliament for a few months last year, but sittings are now conducted virtually – a disadvantage, particularly for those who are not technologically equipped, said political analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo.
“Interactions flow better and get more informed when people sit together than in a [virtual] meeting.
“Oversight is not adequately exercised and we hear the opposition in the absence of oversight, the ruling party has arrogated itself the power that it shouldn’t.
“Hence you see now challenges from political parties, civic organisations, interest groups like businesses, churches and so on, because there is a gap somewhere, where the processing of decisions, especially pertaining to the lockdown, ought not to be the domain of one party.”
The lockdown had also saved the government money, with virtual meetings resulting in lower travelling expenses, said political analyst Somadoda Fikeni.
State funerals had also been cheaper.
“In the long run, it revealed … the possibility of efficiency – on how we could be more efficient in using the digital platform, which we were reluctant to use,” he said.
While the coronavirus had led to an increase in mortalities, leaders succumbing would not bring the country to a standstill.
Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution executive secretary Lawson Naidoo said the constitution made provisions should leaders no longer be able to execute their duties.
“The constitution makes it clear that if the president is indisposed, including death, the deputy president will take over.
The National Assembly will then convene to elect a new president.
“The constitution further makes provisions that if both president and deputy president [are indisposed], the speaker of the National Assembly assumes the role,” Naidoo explained.
But mortalities could have an impact depending on the type of leader, Fikeni said.
“There is still value in what each person contributes and how they grasp their own work.
“There are moments when tragedies weed out people who were, anyway, dead wood and an obstruction and there are moments it robs you of quality people, so it depends on the circumstances,” he said.
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