Survey: ANC, EFF supporters more willing to sacrifice rights during Covid-19

Survey: ANC, EFF supporters more willing to sacrifice rights during Covid-19

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have revealed the findings of a survey on the impressions of South Africans on human rights and the limitation of freedom during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A South African National Defence Force (SANDF) patrol is seen in Eldorado Park on March 30, 2020. South Africa came under a nationwide lockdown on March 27, 2020, joining other African countries imposing strict curfews and shutdowns in an attempt to halt

According to the 11-month long survey, supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were the most willing to sacrifice their rights in the fight against the pandemic, while supporters of the Democratic Alliance (DA) were less willing.  

More than 80% of the black participants surveyed were also more adaptable to the regulations. 

Middle-aged participants were also among the citizens willing to cooperate with government’s response to the lockdown regulations.  

Human rights and social justice activist Mark Heywood believes the findings of the survey showed South Africa came out on the wrong side of the protection of human rights during the ongoing pandemic. 

“If the purpose of the limitations of rights was to contain the epidemic that it cannot be said that the sacrifices were worthwhile for the people who made them.

“Did the means justify the ends? No,” he said. 

He added government failed to take South Africans into their confidence. 

“All of these restrictions, and this may be contentious to say, these limitation of rights in the interest of saving live have ultimately had fairly limited effects in either preventing infections or preventing deaths,” said Heywood. 

“Let me put it bluntly, perhaps controversially, is one of the worst places where the Covid-19 pandemic has affected any country in the world.” 

But CEO of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Tseliso Thipanyane begged to differ. 

“From where we stand, I think the response of government to Covid-19 has been really an attempt to try and ensure we sail through the storms of Covid-19 and try and maintain our democracy and try protect human rights, even though of course some rights had to be limited.

“I don’t think it was done to undermine human rights per se.”

He admitted government still had a long way to go. 

“We are quite aware that in the process there has been a tremendous amount of human rights violations – the conduct of law enforcement, some of the matters which we as a commission are dealing with.” 

Despite a drop in active cases, health experts have warned that the country might face a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the movement of the people during Easter holidays as well as the approaching winter season. 

The commission recommended a more inclusive and transparent process in effecting regulations, as well as limiting the duration that regulations are in effect. 


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