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.
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:
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.