South Africa: a united front? A divided government

Robert Mattes, Ian Glenn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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In response to the first COVID-19 infections in March 2020, the South African government imposed a strict and comprehensive package of policies (including international and domestic travel bans, school and university closures, stay-at-home-orders, and bans on the sale of tobacco and alcohol). While these policies were initially widely supported, criticism increased over time. Government communicators struggled to explain and justify the harsh enforcement regime, increasingly inconsistent and contradictory policy decisions, and the intrusion of corruption. While South Africa appears to have limited the number of confirmed deaths, at least when compared to initial expectations, it experienced a very high level of excess deaths, in per capita terms. The response also carried with it devastating economic consequences that will be felt for years to come.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical Communication and COVID-19
Subtitle of host publicationGovernance and Rhetoric in Times of Crisis
EditorsDarren Lilleker, Ioana Coman, Milos Gregor, Edoardo Novelli
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780367636791
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021


  • South Africa
  • government
  • Covid-19
  • governance
  • rhetoric


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