Ramaphosa COVID-19 silver lining

Photo: GCIS

COVID-19: Cyril Ramaphosa tells SA to ‘look for the silver lining’

With thousands of COVID-19 deaths to report – and millions of jobs on the line – Cyril Ramaphosa’s rallying call is in danger of falling flat on Monday.

Ramaphosa COVID-19 silver lining

Photo: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has outlined what he believes is the ‘silver lining’ to the COVID-19 devastation currently gripping South Africa. However, the president’s optimistic mood may not be in line with how the rest of the country is feeling, after SA became the country with the fifth-highest amount of coronavirus infections.

Another 13 000 cases were reported on Sunday, and the death toll has climbed above 5 000. Mzansi is right at the foot of its peak, and things are likely to get worse before they improve. The ongoing lockdown has ripped the heart out of an already-fragile economy, and mass retrenchments have begun in earnest.

What is Cyril Ramaphosa’s COVID-19 ‘silver lining’

So, where is the silver lining Ramaphosa wants us to look out for? According to him, the ‘creative entrepreneurship’ sparked by the pandemic is a source of comfort.

“As much as COVID-19 hangs over our country, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. As much as we have to face enormous difficulties and challenges, there are a number of opportunities that we need to look out for. There are a number of South Africans who are searching for that silver lining.”

“I’m pleased with the business acumen displayed by a number of South Africans who’ve come up with home-grown solutions to the contemporary challenges we face. Some have started small business ventures because of personal circumstances, Others have seized the opportunity to create their own income.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

Some of the individual companies who were identified for praise from Ramaphosa include:

  • Cloudy Deliveries in Langa, Cape Town: A bicycle delivery service taking groceries to the elderly.
  • Election Xitsakiso Baloyi from Mankweng, Limpopo: The pizza-making, social media whizz now employs nine people.
  • Ponani Shikweni, from Alexandra, Gauteng: Repurposed her linen manufacturing business to produce face masks, creating 35 jobs.
  • Judy Jay, from Sekhukhune: The DJ’s “watch parties” during the lockdown have attracted the attention of major local and international radio stations.

The president’s optimism may not be universally accepted

Granted, all of these people and small businesses have achieved something incredible at a difficult time. But the adversity now being faced by an overwhelming majority of South Africans does not quite reconcile with Ramaphosa’s tone. Credit where it’s due, of course, but some may struggle to see this so-called ‘silver lining’.

His weekly letter also encouraged young people to ‘take advantage of the opportunities on offer to guide them along the path towards entrepreneurship’. These opportunities, however, are usually few and far between.