We, as civic organisations, trade unions, organisations of informal workers, faith-based organisations and community structures in South Africa, call on all people, every stakeholder and sector, to contain infection, reduce transmission and mitigate the social and political impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
Government retains a critical role in coordinating actions and distributing resources, yet its efforts will not be enough if we do not hold it to account and commit to a broad, bottom-up, public effort at this time. In a society as unequal as ours, we must work together to ensure that all safety measures are shared equitably.
We have a particular duty to safeguard those who are most vulnerable, those who are already living with hunger, weakened immune systems and poor access to health care. Greater restrictions and shutdowns are coming, but they will only work if full support is provided to working class and poor communities. Drastic measures are needed if we are to avoid disaster. Each of us must act now.
Acknowledging other statements coming from fellow movements and organisations, we put forward the following Programme of Action for all of us to work towards in the coming days:
1. Income security for all.
2. All households, residential institutions, the homeless and the informally housed must have easy access to sanitation, especially water and safe ablution facilities.
3. All households, residential institutions, the homeless and the informally housed must have access to food.
4. Essential private facilities must be appropriated for public use to provide a unified and fair distribution of essential goods and services to all.
5. Community self-organisation and local action is critical, as is our representation in national coordination.
6. Community health workers must be insourced trained and supported and, along with other frontline health and emergency services workers, must have access to the resources necessary to safely and effectively contain the virus.
7. We must identify strategies to calm tensions and divert violence in our homes.
8. Communication must be free, open and democratised.
9. The inequalities within our educational services need to be carefully considered, and mitigated, when moving to remote learning.
10. We must prevent a nationalist, authoritarian and security-focused approach in containing the virus
Read the full Programme of Action here.
For media interviews, contact:
Mazibuko Jara (Deputy Director, Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education) firstname.lastname@example.org 083 987 9633
Noncedo Madubedube (General Secretary, Equal Education) email@example.com 079 170 4656