TODAY is day 42 of the national lockdown that began at 12am on March 27 at Level 5, and was dropped to Level 4 at 12am on May 1. At Level 4, some workers have been allowed to return to work provided that they, together with their companies, adhere to strict confinement and social distancing rules, and disinfect work areas. Last Friday also saw the lifting of restrictions on exercising and, according to health minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize, taking your dog for a walk is also allowed under Level 4 regulations. This is good news for dog owners (as my dog was beginning to look at me with hatred in his eyes). You may walk or jog between 6am and 9am each day, but you have to stay within 5km of your home. You may still not gather socially or attend anything in groups and you must wear a face mask whenever you are out in public. Surfers, paddleboarders, swimmers and all those who use the ocean had been waiting for an easing of restrictions, but were dealt a serious blow when it was announced that, even under Level 4 regulations, beaches and the ocean will remain off-limits.
THE good news on the oil price is that petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin are all due for a hefty price reduction this week and this might have already been announced by the time you read this paper. Unfortunately, with the lockdown still in operation, there is nowhere for the average South African to go. Perhaps the price of crude oil will remain low for a while but it will be necessary for the oil companies to recover the losses hey have experienced during the world-wide lockdown and therefore prices may shoot through the roof once restrictions are eased.
ON Monday morning, large crowds could be seen in the Port Alfred CBD, most either out shopping or collecting social grants. However, there was no sign of law enforcement to control the crowds of people or to impose fines on the many people not wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing as required under the regulations. On the other hand, Level 4 lockdown seems somehow more oppressive than Level 5 as we have been given a curfew on any outside activity between 8pm and 5am every day. Some things are back on the shelves in our shops and supermarkets, while others remain banned (such as cigarettes). The sale of alcohol is still banned.
SOUTH Africans from all walks of life are doing their best to alleviate the suffering of those less fortunate by starting food banks, making up food parcels and delivering these to their neighbours. Ordinary citizens have been purchasing a few extra cans to donate to the poorer members of our community or giving up their time to assist. Talk of the Town would like to extend our thanks to all those who have donated time, money or other items for the benefit of poorer residents. What a pity we don’t do this all the time.
HAPPY birthday greetings and good wishes to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead, especially Keith Reid, Nigel Coster, Brandan Rudman, Kirsten Baart, Ntombise Diamond, Marge Strange, Lindy Hulley, Nicole Norden, Rafe McKinnon, Edward Donaghy, Heather Jones, Nan Robinson, Vicky Nelson, Connie Abbott, Beryl Bentley, John Gaylard, Antjie Rodgers, Jannie Malan, Stewart Kemp, Lauren Pretorius, Sonja Blenkinsop, Cheryl Larson, Ralph Clegg, Lynn Roberts, Donné Mather-Pike, Kristen Wilson, Clint Roesstorff, Debbie Axe, Malcolm Noel, Nolungile Gula, Ronald Jones, Angus Schlemmer, Almarie Garner, Carmantha Barkhuizen, Quinton Ruiters, Marion Cleugh, Hein Swart, Bev Scoble, Michelle Seegers, Terry Brickhill, Chris de Wet Steyn, Margaret Frances, Brian Kibby, Colleen Wood, Lêlin Frankenfeldt and Rowan Haller.
BUSINESS and church anniversary congratulations, followed by good wishes for continued success, go to Kowie Key (in Van der Riet Street), Richman Poorman and St John’s Anglican Church (182nd anniversary in Bathurst).
GIVEN that the global economy is in turmoil due to lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and with international currencies, fuel and other commodity prices, as well as the world’s major stock exchanges rising and falling on a daily basis, pinning an accurate picture of our financial situation is difficult. However, the global economy is a critical factor in estimating how long it will take SA to recover financially post-Covid-19. With Standard and Poor (S&P) ratings agency once again downgrading the South African currency in April, things might be even tougher to get us back up to speed. With 2019’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R18.70 to the dollar (R14.48), R23.25 to the pound (R18.96) and R20.46 to the euro (R16.21). Gold is trading at $1,706.58 per ounce ($1,281.97), platinum was trading at $777.55 per ounce ($879.00) and Brent crude oil at $31.74 per barrel ($70.65).
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, or are 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.
CONGRATULATIONS and continued happiness to everyone celebrating a wedding anniversary in the week ahead, especially Shane and Chelsea van Eeden, Okkie and Chantelle Goosen, Tony and TrishVersfeld, Cliff and Jacqui Tutton, Peter and Edna Smethurst, Bruce and Gwen Venters, and Gary and Theresa Smith.
THOUGHT for the week: “Mothers hold their child’s hand for a little while, but their heart forever ” – we wish all mothers a happy and peaceful day on Sunday.
BEST regards as always,