It is without a doubt that following the Honorable Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s address on the 18th July 2020 has left most with utter misperception. Not only do the new lockdown regulations sound bizarre, but also, quite difficult to fathom.
He failed to emphasize inclusive decision-making supported by a broad spectrum of easy to understand scientific evidence. Perhaps in that way, the public would be made aware of the importance of restricting lockdown regulations to straighten the curve of infection. Initially, the address was a bit simple but gradually became more complicated when he introduced the staging of lockdown as per disease outbreak.
This left most viewers undeniably confused which eventually lead to them being uninterested in the entire context of the address. We are in a crucial time that requires the Government as well as the Honorable Prime Minister to embody principles that aim at building a broad consensus around the national state of disaster declared late March to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Such an approach would serve to depoliticize and rationalize proper addressing of the nation.
He needs the public to side with him, not fight against him because of the vagueness uplifted in his address. Many complain that the speech lacked empathy and concern as these regulations would be put to effect upon initial release of the Gazette which was done less than 24hours of the address. Companies and industries did not have enough time to adjust to these regulations expected by them, as seen in the case of factories and essential walk-in services( to mention a few) who are required to work suing day and night shifts. Probably if they had been given enough time to prepare to these new adjustments, it wouldn’t come out a bit difficult to reinforce them.
Another significant issue to point out is that of the closure of other services such as beauty hair salons. We cannot deny that these places cause the highest spread of infection but the way the Honorable Prime Minister initiated their foreclosure required concern. The public interpreted it ultimately as biasness and that they were not in any way put to great thought when this decision was taken, especially when other business operations were not troubled.
The official address failed to stress out the matter of how NACOSEC and the Government came to a conclusion that the country is in the orange (clustering outbreak) stage without elaborating on the sufficiency of evidence. This is why most of the viewers have failed to understand the restrictions and regulations governing the very same stage the country is told to be in.
It is important for an address of this manner to align its main topics chronologically in a way that makes sense to both the reader as well as the listener and viewer. In this way, the legitimacy of the regulations and implications of the disaster or outbreak management become clearer, inducing the need to adhere to regulations set by the Government.
Government decision-making is the product of value choices and uncertainty exists about what determines such decisions, in this case, the government’s need to exercise tighter lockdown code of practice. Decision-making like this must be followed by a concise national address as well as assurance of reviewing of the regulations to gain public support and express empathy in the same context.