LAROUCHE SOUTH AFRICA
Does South Africa Have the Moral Fitness to Survive?
A Proposal to Defeat the Coronavirus Pandemic
It has been well over a month since I issued my 15 February call to battle against the coronavirus pandemic crisis facing the people of our nation, Africa and the world. In that call, I explained that the Brutish Empire has to go—that Africa would not long survive the continuation of the Brutish Empire’s system of monetarism, whose policies of looting, primitive accumulation and enforced underdevelopment have created the conditions of biological holocaust, just as the greatest man of the recent century, the late physical economist and American statesman Lyndon LaRouche had warned for more than fifty years.
Mr LaRouche, who founded the global movement which I am proud to lead in South Africa, said that only the creation of a New World Economic Order can end the British system of managed death and genocide. It is only by investing in the productivity of human labs and creativity as the source of all real value, that the evil Empire’s valuation of human life in money terms can be defeated and the continued existence of mankind on this planet be assured.
It was in that spirit that I called on our leaders at home and abroad to mobilise an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in Africa a response to the locust plague and starvation conditions especially in southern and eastern Africa. While our nation with its full-set economic capabilities, if mobilised properly, must play a key role in this war for survival, I urged that help come from President Trump’s United States and President Xi’s China, whose nation has waged a heroic and successful battle against the virus.
For weeks I saw little or no action in response to my call for urgent action. Then, as the virus began to spread in Europe and the United States, and those nations began to respond, finally South Africa’s leaders began to act. On March 15, President Ramaphosa finally declared a national state of disaster, per the Disaster Management Act, and on March 23 put our nation in a 21-day lockdown.
While this latter measure, if enforced, might slow the spread of COVID-19, it cannot stop it. How can it, when we do not even know who is sick and needs to be isolated and treated, and when we do not have the means to treat it? We have neither hospital beds sufficient to meet what will be a growing grim demand, nor equipment such as ventilators to help the acutely ill. Nor do we have sufficient medical personnel nor the protective personal equipment they require, not even simple masks that might be needed for our citizens. We also lack medicines, including antivirals that could be used to treat those who are symptomatic.
While there are already promising vaccines now undergoing trials, I know of no plans to pry them loose from pharmaceutical companies to make them available at no cost, or as close to no cost as possible in this emergency.
It is clear that policies of social distancing and restriction on travel, if enforced, can slow the spread of the virus—if, and only if they are accompanied by other measures including mass testing. Compelling people to stay at home can have potentially disastrous consequences, unless people with relevant symptoms are removed from close contact with their family members and placed under medical supervision in empty hotels or converted schools until they are tested.
If we remember the unspoken fact that more than 12% of our people are infected with the immune-system-destroying HIV/AIDS, then it is not hard to project a death toll of millions in our nation from the COVID-19 pandemic, unless all-out measures are taken. Indeed, the number of HIV-infected persons may be much more than 12%, as testing has not been adequate.
I cannot accept minimalist or contradictory plans, and I will not succumb to the idea that an enormous loss of life is inevitable. That will only happen if we continue to do what amounts to nothing to stop the foreseeable mass death. Just because measures are harsh does not mean that they will be effective.
Today there are 1,353 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in South Africa and five deaths. These numbers will now grow by leaps and bounds, as we have seen in every country. Teams are now going into the townships to do testing, but only selectively, to hotspots, so this response is still woefully inadequate to the threat.
A Workable Plan
Let me now propose the outlines of a workable solution.
1.0 We must call together our leading public health professionals, epidemiologists, military figures, business leaders and others into an emergency public health task force. They must monitor data and propose actions based on that data, revising plans on the go.
2.0 We need to obtain literally millions of COVID-19 test kits so that we can test people with symptoms and identify those whose respiratory specimens test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, and isolate and treat them. We should issue an urgent appeal for these test kits directly to China and the United States, requesting their help, while ordering designated companies in our country to produce them if they have the capacity to do so. This is urgent. We must also devise a plan to administer these tests and train what amounts to a public health corps to augment those who are already trained for this purpose.
3.0 We need to increase immediately the number of hospital beds and acute care beds. We will need to convert existing space into hospital space while we rapidly build new temporary facilities and new hospitals, mobilising our construction industry for this task. Again we need to request help from the world in this task, especially from the United States and China, the latter which showed its capability to build new ultra-modern purpose-built hospitals in fewer than two weeks in the worst-stricken city of Wuhan.
4.0 We will need a large number of ventilators to treat those who become acutely ill; we currently have about 6,000, but we will need vastly more than that. We need to see if we can quickly begin production in our own country, and do so immediately. But we must urgently request ventilators from China as well as from the United States, where production is being geared up as I write. The world needs the U.S. industrial base to function as an arsenal for this war against the virus. The President must gear up production not only to meet domestic needs, but—as is his stated intent—to meet the world’s needs.
5.0 Until a vaccine becomes widely available, if there are drug protocols that show promise in treating the virus while not harming patients, we need to get these into operation as fast as possible. We cannot tolerate any holding back for questions of patent rights, as hampered us in the AIDS crisis. Doing so would be a crime against humanity. We need to have access to these treatments, and we need to produce them generically in South Africa if we can, as long as they are safe; and produce patented drugs to be offered at low cost as well. There can be no waiting for ‘peacetime’ full drug testing regimens when we are in a war for survival: we need to get these medicines to the battlefront as soon as possible, as was done with the penicillin during World War II.
6.0 We must treat potential vaccines—on which the survival of much of mankind will depend—in the same way. We cannot accept a 12-18 month delivery timeline for a vaccine. We must demand a preventative vaccine by no later than the end of June. This is not a job for our scientists and our drug companies alone. It is the urgent requirement of mankind and must be treated as such in a cooperative global effort run with the same kind of all-out effort as America’s Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II, this time to develop a ‘bomb’ that kills this pandemic.
7.0 I fully endorse the call of the President of the Schiller Institute, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, for an urgent workday summit of the leaders of Russia, China, the United States, and India—as well as others who might want to participate—to discuss coordinated action against the pandemic and for the creation of a new global world economic order that would usher in a period of peaceful progress and development for mankind.
8.0 For the duration of this crisis, there should be a moratorium on the payment of all sovereign debt to foreign banks and such institutions as the International Monetary Fund, as well as a moratorium on all payments of government debt, at all levels, to financial institutions. These moratoriums shall be without penalty. In addition, there shall be a moratorium on all personal and business debt to financial institutions, for all categories of loans, without penalty. And as long as the emergency exists, there shall be, without penalty, a suspension of all rent payments. It shall also be understood that the government will encourage policies of debt forgiveness, on a need basis, as it will be likely impossible for individuals and families to earn the income necessary to make such payments without endangering their welfare and wellbeing.
The Moral Fitness to Survive
I realise that some may greet my proposals with skepticism, saying, ‘It is impossible to get so much done so quickly’. My answer to them is: ‘Anything less will not assure our survival’. To those who will say that my plan is too costly, I say: ‘Thinking that way shows you are not morally fit to survive’.
I note that the U.S. Congress has just passed a multi-trillion-dollar bailout package and the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank has pledged to deploy unlimited amounts to save financial institutions and financial markets that are little more than gambling casinos for speculators. Where are the trillions to save lives? Is that not our first and foremost concern, saving lives? If we need funds to fight this war against the virus, let our government issue credit in the form of War Against the Virus bonds. Let our citizens of means and our financial institutions buy them. We will let it be known that we shall secure these bonds with the future well-being of our people and nation.
Let us stand together now, against all those like his Royal Virus Prince Philip who share a sick delusion that they shall achieve a new economic equilibrium and maintain their power by killing people on a scale that would have made Adolf Hitler blush with envy. Such people have no use for Africans or people of color. They are not human.
In this moment, I hereby renew my plea to President Trump: Africa desperately needs your friendship, right now. We do not need kind words, but physical goods in the form of ventilators and drugs to fight the ‘war’ against what you call a deadly ‘invisible enemy’. We need millions of testing kits, millions of doses of the so-called Trump cocktail (hydroxychloroquine) to fight the disease, and other antivirals, which must be brought into this fight more quickly than profit-seeking big pharma companies are willing to do on their own. And we need a preventative vaccine not in a year or more, but as soon as possible, to save lives now and when the next wave of this pandemic strikes, as it will. Mr. President, act to mobilise the awesome power of the American economy—as your great predecessor President Franklin Roosevelt did during World War II—to become the great arsenal for this new global war. Do this and you will be rightfully celebrated by grateful future generations.
So I issue this call to battle, to save human life here in South Africa and everywhere on this planet. By so doing, we show our true love—what the Greeks called agape—for what is human in all of us. Will you join me?
Ramasimong Phillip Tsokolibane 1 April 2020