Financial Mail - - YOU SAID... - Klein­schmidt Salz­mann Jonathan Gill Sandy Mcguf­fog Anton Derek Mcleman Al Cadre Ja­nine Scorer Rod

One rea­son for the rise of the anti-maskers is the fact that this, a sci­en­tific re­sponse to a med­i­cal prob­lem, has been hi­jacked by politi­cians, for whom facts have al­ways been a dis­pos­able lux­ury.

“Pig-ig­no­rant dullards” sums it up per­fectly, with Don­ald Trump and Mike Pence as dullards-in-chief.

Mes­merised by rules, a need to con­form, a need to fol­low the herd, to be led by “ex­perts”, and an in­abil­ity to see the big pic­ture. If the mask fits, wear it.

Most of th­ese masks — like Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s colour-coded gar­ments — are a fash­ion state­ment any­way. Masks they are not.

I think wear­ing a mask is of­ten associated with a re­moval of rights, and non-wear­ers are sim­ply re­belling. I don’t think it helps that some prom­i­nent politi­cians don’t wear masks, and those who do are of­ten not be­lieved.

Gov­ern­ments need to build trust by ac­tu­ally man­ag­ing the virus in a suc­cess­ful way and hav­ing clear, rea­soned plans to get peo­ple through the lock­down with the least dis­rup­tion pos­si­ble.

Peo­ple should wear masks, cer­tainly when in en­closed spa­ces with other peo­ple. Viewed on a cost-ben­e­fit ba­sis, even if the ben­e­fit is not that high, cost is neg­li­gi­ble, which makes it worth­while.

The two-month ban on the sale of liquor brought SA’S al­co­hol sec­tor to its knees. But some form of reg­u­la­tion does seem nec­es­sary, given the cost of al­co­hol to so­ci­ety.

Al­co­hol does more dam­age to so­ci­ety than to­bacco, but it re­mains part of our lives.

Don’t pun­ish re­spon­si­ble users. This is a polic­ing or po­lit­i­cal prob­lem. There is lit­tle drunk driv­ing in Aus­tralia or the UK. If driv­ers know there is a high prob­a­bil­ity of pun­ish­ment, they’ll be­have.

Re­strict late-night sales, crack down on pub­lic drunk­en­ness, and leave the rest of us alone!

Of course, in the UK it’s safe to walk to the lo­cal, and there are pub­lic trans­port op­tions, at least in the cities.

This is the prob­lem when you have pro­hi­bi­tion: when it is lifted peo­ple go crazy be­cause they’ve been de­prived. They also start to stock­pile.

It will take at least six months to set­tle back to nor­mal. And as for drink­ing and driv­ing — where are the cops who are sup­posed to be polic­ing this?

the Na­tional Trea­sury ex­pects our GDP to shrink by as much as 7.2% this year — a far steeper de­cline than the 1.5% fall recorded in 2009. Against this back­ground, it is en­cour­ag­ing that gov­ern­ments across the globe — in­clud­ing ours — have em­braced fis­cal stim­u­lus with zest in a bid to stem the haem­or­rhag­ing.

SA’S R500bn stim­u­lus pack­age is un­prece­dented. And, when seen as a per­cent­age of GDP, it places SA near the top of the stim­u­lus scale glob­ally.

But it raises the ques­tion: can this res­cue pack­age not only ar­rest the eco­nomic slide, but also be a cat­a­lyst for stim­u­lat­ing growth?

The ad­e­quacy of this stim­u­lus will de­pend on the de­gree of suc­cess it demon­strates in has­ten­ing a post-pan­demic re­cov­ery. Which brings into sharp fo­cus the role of de­vel­op­ment fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions (DFIS) in both the cur­rent and post-pan­demic era.

As driv­ers of eco­nomic growth and trans­for­ma­tion, DFIS are ex­pected to step up in times of cri­sis and in­vest against the cy­cle. They can­not hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.

In times of dif­fi­culty lo­cal DFIS, which in­clude my or­gan­i­sa­tion, the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Corp (IDC), have been the bul­wark. It was this way af­ter the 2009 cri­sis, when tepid GDP growth and ex­ten­sive un­em­ploy­ment were the or­der of the day.

When the re­ces­sion took root back then, the IDC demon­strated its coun­ter­cycli­cal role, ramp­ing up its cap­i­tal in­jec­tion into the econ­omy from R8.5bn in 2008 to R10.8bn in 2009. In all, R6.1bn of this in­vest­ment went to­wards as­sist­ing dis­tressed com­pa­nies af­fected by the fi­nan­cial melt­down. We saved jobs.

Covid-19 threw up sim­i­lar chal­lenges. But the IDC de­vised a range of in­ter­ven­tions to al­le­vi­ate the eco­nomic im­pact: an es­sen­tial sup­plies in­ter­ven­tion, a dis­tress fund and the small busi­ness in­dus­trial dis­tress fund, all of which pro­vided cap­i­tal to busi­nesses that man­u­fac­ture hand sani­tis­ers, sur­gi­cal masks and pro­tec­tive gear.

This is im­por­tant, not least be­cause DFIS play a crit­i­cal role in clear­ing a path for the pri­vate sec­tor to in­vest — which is ex­actly what SA needs to jump­start growth.

DFIS af­ter the pan­demic

You’ve heard it be­fore, but the phrase “don’t waste a good cri­sis” is ap­pro­pri­ate, given the op­por­tu­ni­ties the pan­demic has cre­ated.

Ul­ti­mately, the suc­cess of a sus­tain­able re­cov­ery will boil down to just a few key de­ci­sions.

Cen­tral to this will be the var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments un­der

As driv­ers of growth, de­vel­op­ment fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions can­not hunker down and wait for the storm to pass

Getty Images/denise Tr­us­cello

Fac­ing facts: Par­tic­i­pants in the Mask Up for Ne­vada fash­ion show in Las Ve­gas, in the US, on June 25

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