Finfind has recently released data about the performance of SMEs during the lockdown. Nearly half of small businesses suffered during the hard lockdown implemented in South Africa. The businesses were destroyed due to the actions of the state, rather than the virus, as is usually said.
The lockdown has been the defining element of 2020. Well, for South Africans at least, as the Swedes probably still only have COVID-19, not a lockdown, as their most interesting event. The South African lockdown is still ongoing after the initial three weeks that started in March passed. It involves the central direction of individual lives by an inept and corrupt government. From our freedom to move, associate, and trade, right down to our freedom to chose what accessories to put on or not, as the mask diktats of global governments become normalised. The lockdowns, which at their worst amount to mandatory house arrest for entire populations who were assumed to be guilty of recklessly spreading COVID-19, are lessons learned from the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Countries like Sweden didn’t have lockdowns and we are still awaiting the 'millions' that were supposed to die. There was an alternative to the authoritarianism that has been normalised globally. Beyond the inhibition on liberty this is on principle, the consequences of the lockdown have been horrendous. This is exemplified by the recent FinFind study done with government departments that shows how this violation of liberty and the Rule of Law resulted in the gutting, the death, of 42% of small businesses in South Africa.
The South African government took its cues from the CCP and the World Health Organisation, which itself was apparently also inspired by the CCP. The history of mass misrepresentation of economic growth data and lack of honesty about their Muslim concentration camps did not seem to dissuade our government from taking inspiration from the CCP.
The rationale for the lockdown was to 'save lives'. The lockdown was necessary because, irrespective of its consequences, which governments were warned about by those who dared defy the zeitgeist, lives were going to be lost en masse if it wasn't instituted. The dichotomy between life, thought of in the biological sense as simply breathing, and the activities associated with life, like sustenance, property, and the pursuit of happiness, was fallaciously established. Governments convinced individuals, on the back of false data, that gutting their livelihoods and driving some to suicide was necessary to save their lives. The economy was separated from people's 'lives' and sacrificed at the altar of faux morality.
Human life cannot be reduced and thought of in the same manner as one would think of animals or properties in an isolated environment for experimentation. Individuals' lives already presuppose that which makes life worth living. Freedom, the liberty to prosper and improve your material conditions and pursue happiness. The economy is that which makes the sustenance of life possible. Destroying it all in favour of saving lives is tantamount to cutting off one's nose to spite your face.
The motivations for lockdown in South Africa have also changed from building capacity, which was the reason for the original initial state of disaster, to having lockdown contingent on the number of infected people. The goalposts keep shifting, our liberties keep getting inhibited, and small businesses keep dying.
FinFind found that since the lockdown began in March, 42% of small to medium enterprises have shut down. This is nearly half of the enterprises that are responsible for a large portion of not only employment but growth in any economy, most especially ours. Our economy was on the edge even before being consciously pushed over it by the state. The state took out credit from global institutions to bail out the business that wouldn't need bailing out had it not shut down the economy. According to FinFind, of those businesses that they surveyed which applied for relief funding, 99% of them had their application rejected. The state had made their commercial activities criminal, and there would be no trial – guilt was presumed.
When entrepreneurs are reeling from losses, and parents are at a loss as to how they will get through the coming year, the blame as to who caused this situation must not be placed on a virus. Viruses do not enact laws prohibiting movement and trade. The blame must be place squarely at the feet of each and every government globally, and our own, for killing the small business sector under the guise of saving lives. Right next to the death count of the virus visible on every major news channel, a novelty that came with COVID-19 – which still has a 99% survival rate – the death rate of businesses, which stands at 42% at the hands of government diktat, should be displayed.
This article was first published on City Press on 22 December 2020