1st Edition

The South African Response to COVID-19 The Early Years

Edited By Pieter Fourie, Guy Lamb Copyright 2023
    276 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book analyses the first two years of South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic, from its emergence in early 2020.

    Drawing on the perspectives of a range of public health experts, economists and other social scientists, and development practitioners, this book argues that understanding this early response will be essential to moderate and improve future policy thinking around health governance and epidemic readiness. This book provides a systemic analysis of not only the epidemiological progression of COVID-19 in South Africa, but also the socio-political factors that will be key in determining the future of the country as a whole, including health system challenges, socio-economic disparities and inequalities, and variable (often contradictory and tardy) policy responses. Overall, this book exposes Manichean thinking and the spurious policy dichotomies that pitch public health against human rights, economic recovery against viral vector control, and science against ideology, with lessons not just for South Africa, but also for elsewhere on the African continent, and beyond.

    This book will be perfect for researchers and practitioners across Public Health, Health Policy, and Global Health, as well as those with an interest in South African politics and development more generally.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.


    1. The emancipatory catastrophe we need?
      Pieter Fourie
    2. COVID-19 in South Africa: History, impact, and government response – An overview
      Christiane Struckmann
    3. The rough and the smooth: South Africa’s uneven response to COVID-19
      Warren Parker
    4. Placing the South African COVID-19 epidemic in a global context
      Alan Whiteside
    5. Slow crises: South Africa’s governmental responses to COVID-19 in times of ‘crisis within crisis’
      Laurin Baumgardt and Steven Robins
    6. Mobilising the public sector to combat COVID-19, and the pandemic’s effect on public sector governance
      Vinothan Naidoo
    7. COVID-19 vaccines: Triumphs and tragedies
      Keymanthri Moodley
    8. Police legitimacy and the SAPS’s policing of the COVID-19 pandemic
      Guy Lamb
    9. The role of temporary social grants in mitigating the poverty impact of COVID-19 in South Africa
      Eldridge Moses and Ingrid Woolard
    10. COVID-19 and mental health well-being in South Africa: Impact, responses, and recommendations
      André Janse van Rensburg, Arvin Bhana, and Inge Petersen
    11. New foundations: Strengthening early childhood care and education provisioning in South Africa after COVID-19
      Gabrielle Wills and Jesal Kika-Mistry
    12. Tracking the pulse of the people: Support for democracy and the South African government’s response to COVID-19
      Cindy Steenekamp



    Pieter Fourie teaches Political Science at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He has worked in the field of Global Health since the late 1990s, including at UNAIDS and the AIDS Foundation of South Africa, and he has taught at universities in South Africa and Australia.

    Guy Lamb teaches Political Science at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He serves as a commissioner with the South African National Planning Commission. Between 2012 and 2020, he was the Director of the Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town.