National lockdown, Day 35 and the last day of Level-5 lockdown (for now at least). Well, today is the last day of our extended lockdown at Level 5, and as from just after midnight (May 1) the disaster level will be reduced to Level 4. At the time of going to press we still do not have all the details of the restrictions that have been eased but the good news is that there will be more products available in stores as more items are now regarded as essential. This includes certain hardware items such as light bulbs as well as glass. A condition included in the asing of restrictions is that all citizens must wear a cloth face mask.
Also, for all the smokers, there’s no longer a need for you to smoke your mattresses after today. But your dog will still hate you as walking pets is not allowed under Level 4 restrictions. You may also exercise, but the limits to exercise still need to be defined. Certainly, no gyms or health spars will reopen. However, a curfew will exist between 8pm and 5am each day from tomorrow onward, to keep people from wandering the streets. Tomorrow, May 1, is Workers’ Day, which in SA, along with many other countries in the world, is a public holiday. How did you celebrate Freedom Day while locked in your home? Please send us your holiday photographs (my e-mail is at the top of the column) so we can share them with others. We need to work together if we are to beat this thing.
The first of any month sees grant recipients at banks, ATMs, the Post Office and elsewhere, and even under lockdown conditions people still need to collect their money so queues are usually long and take time. If you can, try stagger your trips to claim grants (not such an easy thing to do if you have no food in the house), but this will take some of the strain off the system. Remember, if you are exposed to the virus, anyone you come in contact with could get infected, so by staying at home you are protecting yourself and others. The lack of information on Covid-19 in the Ndlambe area is causing many to start rumours and speculation on what is happening in our area. Talk of the Town has contacted provincial health spokesperson Siayanda Manana, but he has responded infrequently to questions asked of him. However, things are happening in Ndlambe that residents should be made aware of. There is a Joint Operations Committee (JOC) where councillors, municipal management, the SAPS, health care and other essential services, plus disaster management experts meet to discuss the way forward for the Ndlambe area. These committees ensure the municipality abides by national regulations through coordination with the Sarah Baartman District Municipality and others. Strategies and plans are apparently made at these meetings but, thus far, TOTT has not received any information we can report on. Having asked the chairperson, Ndlambe mayor Khululwa Ncamiso, if the media could attend the meeting so we can report back to our readers, Ncamiso replied that he media were not invited to JOCs held at any of the governmental levels, and that she had instructed the communications department to issue reports to the media. However, no reports have been received and our residents require more relevant information regarding the pandemic. People are becoming afraid and unsure as to when and if the novel coronavirus will infect them. We need this information regularly and timeously. There should be no secrets regarding this outbreak, so it should be an open meeting (much like the normal council meetings). Private items that do not involve the rest of the community are held in “green papers” where the press is not allowed. Surely this could be applied to the JOC meetings if the mayor is afraid we might report on any private matter. However, in the case of Covid-19, there should be no private matters to discuss.
Happy birthday greetings and many more to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead, especially Monty Colville Reeves, Lindsey van der Schyff, Kyle Henning, Natasha Kenny, Rowena Collin, Trish Reed, Zel-Rene Jacobs, Caitlyn Japp, Tristan Clayton, Elize Esteves, Helen Thompson, Richard Msesiwe, Rob Joiner, Siyamthanda Rungqu, Wilma Sieker, Daphne Smith, Roma Young, Albert Johnson, Loretta Hawkes, Gerhard Strydom, Gavin Muir, Pieter van Niekerk, Sharon Hammond, Yvonne van Gass, Anet Fraser, Gavin Dell, Jean Hope Bailie, twins Darcie and Olivia Squires, Charmaine de Klerk, Dylon van der Spuy, Matt Wood, Gerald Denston, Len Holford, Carlynn Garden, Vici Champion, Dick Schuurman, Basil Rudman, Glynis Mather-Pike, Ntsikelelo Nodwala, Justin Sheffield, Bess Nel, Anton Maclean, Marguerite Smit, Pumza Rungqu, Jenna Barnard, Kathy Duffy, Deane Eales, Tyler Pullen, Lynn Rodgers, Juanita Lax, Margie Stephenson, Ross Purdon, Kristen Fletcher, Storm Olivier, Ntombise Diamond and Angela Sousalis.
Business anniversary congratulations followed by good wishes for continued success go to the following businesses and organisations, especially Pam Golding Boknes, Oxygen Fitness (Rosehill Mall), Buco (PA), and certainly not forgetting the AA, which was founded in Port Alfred in 1961.
The global financial markets are in imminent danger of collapsing. With production, imports and exports as well as trade in general being halted or at least slowed down during the Covid-19 pandemic, the markets are slumping and businesses are beginning to shut up shop and retrench their employees. Once the pandemic is over, it could take years for economies to re-establish themselves. At the time of going to press and with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R18.57 to the dollar (R14.34), R23.22 to the pound (R18.54) and R20.21 to the euro (R16.00). Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,708.62 a fine ounce ($1,280.47), platinum at $777.70 a fine ounce ($900.40), with the price of Brent crude oil at $20.36 a barrel ($71.79).
Special thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Emilene Bruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Jan Haig, Maureen Botha and Lyn Charter.
No red gown, no red cap, no graduation ceremony due to the national lockdown, but congratulations to Dr Thandi Welman-Hawkes of Kleinemonde on being awarded her PhD in Classics from the University of Stellenbosch. Thandi attended Victoria Girls School and the Diocesan School for Girls in Makhanda and did her honours in Latin and Greek at Rhodes University before moving to Stellenbosch.
Wedding anniversary congratulations with best wishes for many more years of happiness ahead for all couples having an anniversary, especially John and Diana Lardner-Burke, Clinton and Lize-Marie Millard, Michael and Moira Schnehage, Ivor and Lesley-Ann Phillips and Paul and Gillian Lacey.
Thought for the week: “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
Best regards as always,