The State of Disaster declared a year ago failed to solve many of South Africa’s problems. And the nation is still in a state of disaster.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

As of Monday, 15 March 2021, South Africa has spent a year in a national State of Disaster that allows governance by ministerial regulation, with many of the “extraordinary measures” announced then still in place in some version today.

“We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the virus on our society and on our economy,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa in his first address to the nation on that Sunday evening of 15 March 2020. “We have now declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act… “

At the time, 61 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in South Africa. The World Health Organisation had declared Covid-19 a “public health emergency of international concern”, or a pandemic, on 11 March 2020.

By 10 March 2021, South Africa had officially confirmed 51,015 Covid-19 deaths and 1,524,174 infections. That national State of Disaster…

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