“Our overwhelming concern must be for the health and the well-being of all South Africans, particularly the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable. The actions we take and the decisions that we make must be informed by this imperative.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

I completely support the COVID-19 lockdown decision, but the devil is in the detail. These past three days have been a mad scramble by disability activists try to find the right people in government to amend the regulations regarding transport and to address the needs of disabled people, especially SASSA grant recipients and other vulnerable people who are not in the care of paid service providers approved as Essential Services.

We knew that this whole thing was going to be messy, and now it is messy. We have to fix the mess and save lives.

As the regulations stand, there are many scenarios which make it impossible for caregivers to travel with their charges. Yesterday we established that it is possible to go to the police station for special permission, but for people on SASSA grants, such an additional trip can take an enormous chunk out of their food money, and some will have to get there ‘illegally’ before they can shop or access medical care. Besides, the millions of affected people were not informed about this procedure at all.

There are many other problems that make the job of staying alive very difficult now for the very people the president wanted to protect.

Right now, people are working on letters to ministers, to the papers, whoever they can find.

If you want to complain, do so with focus and guided by this overwhelming concern.