Original Research - Special Collection: COVID-19 Pandemic Insights

Southern African responses to the COVID-19 pandemic: A study of Botswana and South Africa

Tyanai Masiya, David Mandiyanike, Dintle Molosiwa, Adrino Mazenda
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 9, No 1 | a497 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v9i1.497 | © 2021 Tyanai Masiya, David Mandiyanike, Dintle Molosiwa, Adrino Mazenda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2020 | Published: 04 May 2021

About the author(s)

Tyanai Masiya, School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
David Mandiyanike, Department of Politics and Administration, University of Botswana, Gabarone, Botswana
Dintle Molosiwa, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Botswana, Gaborone,, Botswana
Adrino Mazenda, School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Southern African countries adopted diverse responses to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, which manifested itself as both a health and economic disaster.

Aim: Using a case study approach of two South African countries, namely Botswana and South Africa, the article assessed their response measures to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Setting: Southern African countries applied ‘domesticated’ forms of responses thus, there has been no one-size-fits-all approach to managing the pandemic.

Methods: The study adopted a qualitative approach. Two case studies namely Botswana and South Africa were used. Documentary evidence was drawn from these case studies.

Results: To ensure that Southern African countries and indeed the world in general navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed operational planning guidelines that had sought to balance the demands of responding effectively to COVID-19 and the need to serve economies from collapse. However, an analysis of the programmes of responses in South African countries such as Botswana showed the ‘domestication’ of the guidelines. Nevertheless, the guidelines, although having met with criticism in some cases had significantly contributed to the effective management of COVID-19 health and economic effects.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic required the state and its institutions to exercise effective leadership and unified action. In South African countries such as Botswana and South Africa, this pandemic showed the importance of governments in shaping the effectiveness of national responses, strategies and approaches in tackling the crisis.


Keywords

Botswana; COVID-19; economic measures; health measures; South Africa; guidelines; policy response; socio-economic crisis.

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