Sunday, March 29, 2020



Floyd Shivambu

The outbreak of Corona virus and its global spread with significant fatalities represents the end of the world order as we know it. The significance of the outbreak is that it is at the same proportions if not far reaching than the World Wars that occurred in the 20th century with the first World War in 1914 to 1918 and the second world war in 1939 to 1955. These World Wars significantly defined the world order in almost all its manifestations.

Both World Wars gave rise to the militarisation of nation states in such a way that the collective psychology of nation states in the period post the World Wars was underpinned by the need to assemble huge armaments and preparation for another war.

The period post World Wars positioned the whole world to expend trillions of dollars in stockpiling armaments, building geo-political alliances and establishing command centres in different parts of the world in anticipation of and preparation for another war. The world’s most powerful economy, the United States currently expends more money on its army than the nominal value of all African economies combined. The alliances the US supports and keeps in different parts of the world are not premised on shared values, but on an imaginary anticipation that if another war occurs, those allies will fight on the side of the US. 

The outbreak of the Corona virus has illustrated in less than 60 days that the enemy of the 21st century is not and will not be intra global war opponents, but a virus which poses one of the most dangerous threats to humanity. If not contained and eliminated, the Corona virus has the potential and capacity to kill millions of people all over the world. The ease at which it gets transmitted might lead to unmanageable fatalities of a significant population in the whole world. The United Nations General Secretary, Antonio Guterres told a digital meeting of the G-20, a group of the 20 biggest economies in the world responsible for more than 80% of the world wealth that, “We are at war with a virus, and not winning it”.  

As of March 2020, the highest fatalities are still in the most industrialised and economically advanced nation states. The reality is that if the virus can systemically impact the poorer nation states and infect poorer people in Africa, parts of Asia and South America, the fatalities will be unparalleled as millions of people will die due to the reality that the healthcare systems of poorer nations are unsuitable and not capable of addressing even the present disease burdens. 

The Corona virus was first detected in the Wuhan Province of China, which had coincidently hosted the World Military Games in October 2019 with almost 10 000 athletes from over 100 militaries in the world. The outbreak also happens after EVENT201 simulation of a Corona virus with similar impact by the World Economic Forum, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with the John Hopkins University in New York in December 2019.

As a result, schools and universities are closed, public spaces are locked down, millions of people across the world are instructed by governments to stay at home. At both global and local levels, sporting leagues are halted, and one the world’s biggest sporting activity, the Olympics in Tokyo is postponed. The fictitious capital invested in stock markets is losing value, and billionaires whose wealth was measured through stock markets are now millionaires. Global travel and interaction is significantly disrupted, thereby impacting negatively on the tourism economic sector, which employs millions of people across the world and a significant revenue base for governments. 

The premature proclamation of end of history and dominance of the global capitalist order since the collapse of the socialist Soviet Union in the early 1990s also complicates the whole global situation because whilst willing, governments have limited or no resource capacity to effectively respond to a global pandemic. The capitalist triumphalism has significantly reduced, undermined and side-lined the role of governments in favour of profiteering capitalist conglomerates. Whilst with legislated powers, governments are reduced in this global capitalist order into nothing but committees that manage the common affairs of the capitalist establishment. 

We are now confronted with a common enemy, a virus that can be easily transmitted and one which is evidently defeating both natural and supernatural responses. The Corona virus is the biggest disruption of the present capitalist order and globalisation. The fictitious capital horded in stock markets globally is possibly the biggest casualty as trillions of dollars have already been wiped out. Huge corporations will be forced to be out of operation for a period of time thereby disrupting their sustainability. This will create and in some nation states worsen unemployment levels. The base from which governments collect revenue for basic services will be significantly affected, meaning that governments will have lesser money to build additional healthcare facilities, build schools and provide basic social assistance to those who cannot sell their labour to gain income for subsistence. 

The question that arises in the immediate is what is to be done. The Corona virus outbreak calls for a discontinuation of the capitalist logic of resource distribution and allocation. The post Corona era should make all of us conscious that that there many essential services that do not need to categorise as commodities and these include healthcare, education, access to food and decent shelter. As a first and essential step towards the post Corona world order, governments should guarantee all its citizens access to basic necessities like clean water, healthcare services, education, shelter and food. Governments should build capacities to feed their own people, meaning that they should have some acceptable degree of food sovereignty. 

Furthermore, governments should build Healthcare Reserve capacity in the same way military reserve capacity were built in the post war era which will now be replaced with the post Corona era. A Healthcare Reserve capacity will entail that all governments should train not less than 10% of its population with basic but necessary healthcare skills and capacity, which will give the population some intermediary skills to provide healthcare services in the era of pandemics. There is no guarantee that the world will not be confronted with another health pandemic in the foreseeable future, so we need an army of healthcare practitioners who can administer basic healthcare as and when needed. 

The most important step in some of the immediate considerations is the super logical proposition that governments should build independent wealth and capacity to take care of all its people during crisis. Governments should not be charity cases of rich capitalists who accumulated so much wealth, avoided real taxes, and only commit a small fraction of their wealth when there is a crisis. The reality is that there are no capitalists in the world who make donations without expecting something tangible in return. In the case of South Africa, two capitalist families have offered to help small businesses during the lockdown period. What this entails is that they have expropriated government’s right to hold them accountable for wrongdoing in the past and future. 

There are various options through which the South African government and all other governments can build independent wealth. Instead of total reliance on taxes, which are recurrently disrupted by capitalist and now natural global crises, government should permanently have capacity to generate nontax revenues. The combination of how this occurs should be clearly defined but must include State strategic ownership and control of key sectors of the economy. Additional to State ownership should be strategic equity partnerships on areas where the State does not need total ownership and control. Importantly, governments should maximally collect taxes from all businesses that are required to pay tax. Occurrences of tax avoidance and profit shifting should be combatted.

No government should be a charity case of rich individuals. In South Africa’s case, the rich individuals who made a donation of R2 billion are families whose wealth was built on the sweat and blood of black people. The Oppeheimers own the mines where mineworkers are not paid. The Ruperts sell cigarettes, alcohol and food which are mostly consumed by black people. If we had a decisive government, the charity contributions made were not going to be necessary because government would have maximally collected taxes and generated independent wealth which would not require donations from the capitalist establishment.

Corona virus has demonstrated to all that capitalism and a capitalist system of resource allocation and distribution does not carry the capacity nor will to insulate all the people. We should all work towards stabilising a global order that is premised on the principles of egalitarianism and cooperationGovernments should build independent wealth and citizens should be empowered to take care of themselves, and in areas of failure, the State should intervene.

China, Italy, the USA, South Korea and Singapore have illustrated that whilst highly infectious, the Corona virus is curable. The first person to be reported with Corona virus in South Africa had gone to a skiing holiday in Italy and Government has officially announced that less than 4 weeks later, the person is now negative. What this means is that the Corona virus is curable and in the immediate, government should stockpile the medication used to cure the virus, prepare enough hospital beds including conversion of hotels into temporary healthcare centres. This way we will completely prevent any fatality.

After flattening the global curve on new infections and thereafter defeating the Corona disease, each and every leader in all parts of the world should appreciate that the post-Corona world should necessarily be a world of global cooperation in terms of healthcare system. All leaders of the world should care about scientifically proven dietary prescriptions, water quality, human settlement spaces, hygiene and health systems of each and every community in the world because a pandemic outbreak that starts in a relatively unknown city of Wuhan has potential to lockdown their entire world, disruption economies, and can exterminate millions of people from the surface of the earth. 

Floyd Shivambu, EFF Deputy President.


Dunani baloyi said...

It is true that poor people will be the one affe red by this Corona, as we speaking only people with money will able to pay 1200 to get tested but what about those who can't aford to raise this kind of money, poor country with limited resources will eventually have more mortality in this virus. The question is what can we do with this limited resources to minimize the effection of Corona to our poor people. And also what must happen after this Corona era to prepared this kind of virus when it happen in feature.

Dunani Baloyi
EFF Vhembe Regional Secretary

Unknown said...

DP, thank you, you pointing out the problem and possible solutions. We are Led, I wish everyone can follow suit and this country will be a better place

Unknown said...

Thanks for the informative article Mr Shivambu

Unknown said...

This is superior logic at its best. Well informed article. Thank you Deputy President for your enlightment especially on such an important issue of global and national interest.

Unknown said...

This is superior logic at its best. Well informed article. Thank you Deputy President for your enlightenment especially on such an important issue of global and national interest.

James Matoane,
EFF Researcher Limpopo

Fighter Jevot, Ngwathe Sub-Region said...

It is painful to see how the poor black masses are suffering in townships due to lockdown. It is a necessary measure to protect the citizens from the virus, however people are not working they don't afford to buy a lot of food.
Our health in SA is very poor, we have shortage of doctors and nurses. According to me, SA should start asking for assistance from cuba before its too late!


Makalo said...

This is quiet informative, the perspective on medical reserve like we have military reserve is an excellent contribution that should be pursued at all cost post Corona pandemic. Indeed we should essentially be having trained care health care givers with skill to be called whenever there is a crisis like we are facing now. Gauteng wants to employ more Health workers, this means they are going to take from the pool of Healthcare workers that are supposed to be operating in other parts of the country, that might translate to an imbalance in response to the pandemic given the fact that before lock down some morons travelled in all directions, to villages etc and this could literally translate to more positive cases popping up in far rural ereas which might not get assisted. Your contributions can really take this country forward only if we had people who could put to use excellent inputs. Be that as it may, keep contributing Cmsr.

Yuba Jawara said...


Unknown said...

True this one

Unknown said...

This is superior logic at it's best. Indeed there's a need for the current government to start nationalizing mines, bank and other profit making companies in order to have a state that is financially capable to deal with disasters such as this Coronavirus pandemic without seeking help from other countries.

Sibongile said...

Such powerful points, my fear is that capitalism is so entrenched in our system we can never rid it out? Secondly, from a career perspective, I'm very curious to know how I as an individual should prepare for the new world order?

Luqman said...

I got a value for my time reading. However, I do not subscribe to the values of socialism, experience has shown it is more precarious than capitalism. Rather government should send in controls to control a free market, taxes are paid etc. Also, the citizens have a right to ensure an accountable government in terms of advocacy etc.

Definitely, I anticipate soonest a post-corona epoch, where government would strengthen health systems and education as it has done with military post-world war periods