By Mkhovu Zwide: The leaping and relentlessly rising numbers of COVID-19 infected patients, as well as the gradual, but ominous rise in deaths from the virus’ complications in the country, continue to strike fear in the hearts of many of the country’s citizenry. Sadly, the blame game between some key stakeholders on who should be held accountable for the rise in some of the deaths, is also gaining ground.
Death is never a welcomed occurrence. It is indiscriminate and has the uncanny knack of striking anywhere, anytime and when least expected. It arrogantly, deviously and insidiously claims the scalps of both the rich, those with power and the destitute. No one is immune from its deadly tentacles. Kings, presidents, pastors, thugs and the ordinary man on the street, have all fallen victim to this old-age, enemy of mankind – and will continue to so. Whenever death strikes, it calls upon each and everyone of us to unite and portray a cohesive front that will bring comfort to those affected by death.
The country received with a heavy and grieving heart, the sad news of the tragic death of the first teacher in the kingdom to die from COVID-19-related sickness. The death comes at a time when there is an ongoing war of words (and a legal battle) between two, most crucial stakeholders in the readiness of the country in allowing schools to reopen. The teacher’s association, SNAT, has taken government, the Ministry of Education and Training in particular, to court over the reopening of schools.
The popular and formidable association is adamant that conditions are not yet conducive for the reopening of schools, amid the spread of COVID-19. Government, on the other hand, has used her often despotic muscle and allowed Grades 12 to begin schooling. It promises to be a contest with no outright winner in the end.
In the aftermath of the teacher’s demise, (may his soul rest in peace) the teacher’s association is blaming government for the death of their colleague. Making matters worse is an allegation, allegedly attributed to an online newspaper, concerning an alleged remark to the effect that a prominent official in the Ministry of Education and Training allegedly said that he could not be sure that the late teacher died from the virus and that he had been sick for a while. Calling it an ugly situation would be the understatement of the year. It is an epic battle between the two…
Putting aside the blame game, the million-dollar question is why are these two, eminently crucial stakeholders so much at odds against and are so relentlessly at each other’s throats, when everyone in the country should be joining hands in unison to fight this deadly pandemic? Is it a case of a clash of egos or something deeper? I think as a nation, we deserve better other than this suicidal clash between the two, prominent stakeholders.
On the surface, and in light of the rate of infection (and now death of the first teacher to the virus) of teachers, it certainly looks like our civil authority is on a suicidal mission, playing Russian roulette with the lives of both teachers and pupils. A game with potentially fatal effects.
It is baffling why an amicable consensus had not been reached between government and SNAT over the opening of schools – bearing it in mind that the two gladiators are both key stakeholders in the education sector – when it is alleged by the teacher’s association that some schools’ preparedness in putting into place logistics of preventative measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, were hurried by government.
Now that the first teacher in the country has succumbed to COVID -19 related effects, SNAT, on the surface, seems to have been vindicated that, had its demands been met, may be the teacher would be alive today? We may never know… This reminds me of how both Presidents Donald Trump of the USA and Jair Bolsanaro of Brazil, respectively, initially poured scorn over the deadly effects of COVID-19. It is history now that both America and Brazil have the highest infection rates and deaths through COVID-19. Arrogance in leadership more often than not, yields fatal consequences. Rings any bells?
As a nation that is caught in the middle of a battle of Titans, that is, between government and SNAT, we humbly call upon the two gladiators to call a truce and concentrate on working together for the common good of protecting our beloved teachers, pupils and all of us.
Fact: there are no spare, human parts garages around in this world.
We cannot afford to allow an apparent clash of egos to deprive us of the sacred lives of our compatriots – be it the elite or us bantukazana. May sanity prevail?
Contact Mkhovu Zwide @ 79470985