DAY 84 since the national state of disaster was announced. Over time we have had a lessening of what are the highly restrictive regulations as lockdown level 5 was reduced through levels 4 to its current Level 3. However, there are a number of legal challenges to some of the Disaster Management restrictions and many inconsistencies in the way they are implemented. Cigarette smokers have been biting their nails awaiting the high court ruling.
PARENTS have mixed feelings about schools reopening. Some are concerned that their children might not be safe, or could bring the virus home with them and put more vulnerable people in danger. Parents with such concerns have kept their children from returning to school. Others have been waiting desperately for schools to reopen and for their children to resume their studies after having to be home schooled for more than two months, with varying success. It has been especially difficult for working parents who had to juggle work and home schooling. Some were disappointed that public schools are only taking back two grades at a time – starting with Grades 7 and 12. Locally, it appears that most Grade 7s and 12s did return to school. Private schools were able to let other grades return too.
READING through social media posts it is clear that many are unhappy with the wearing of masks, or of restrictions on gatherings, the bans on the sale of certain items and government’s or the Disaster Management Command Council’s paternalistic control. The apparent lack of logic in their decisions have many people ignoring the restrictions, and this is evident as one walks around town observing taxis with a full load of passengers, the number of people not wearing masks, gatherings on street corners and many more violations. There has also been an increase in the number of local crimes, specifically assault, home robberies and break-ins. As more people go back to work, the infection rate may increase and the question is what represents the greater danger: no income or catching Covid-19?
LAST week’s ruling by the Constitutional Court has opened up brand new opportunities for true democracy. Party politics is a hierarchical democracy where the many elect their candidates at municipal level but, from thereon representatives are selected by political parties. The more senior the position, the less the man-on-the-street has any say in their appointments as only political parties can select a president or member of the cabinet or any senior post. The ConCourt ruling means that an individual can run directly for any elected position, including the position of president. This move will break the hold political parties have had on leadership and possibly introduce a fairer platform for the people to be heard rather than the voices of political party leaders. The government has two years to change the systems and it will be interesting to see how nonpartisan politics will be implemented in SA.
THOUGH things are not even close to normal, local businesses are beginning to open, albeit often with a smaller staff complement and restricted operating hours. Being a holiday destination, the success of many local businesses depends upon our visitors who arrive to spend the holidays here, as well as attend major events which have had to be cancelled, such as the RSAH Amanzi Challenge and the Bathurst Agricultural Show that this year was intended as the 200-year commemoration of the landing of the 1820 Settlers. Without the influx of visitors many local businesses have struggled and some have not survived. Yet, if we want local businesses and the jobs they provide to survive, please support them by buying local.
INTERESTING to hear President Cyril Ramaphos’a Youth Day broadcast on Tuesday and the way he said the Covid-19 pandemic had highlighted the problems of inequality with schools that have no sanitation, unequal living conditions, as well as access to potable water. Yet it seems disingenuous that Ramaphosa should make Covid-19 an excuse for suddenly revealing these things as we have known about them for the last 26 years of the ANC-led government. Party politics gets in the way of fixing real problems that ordinary South Africans face every day.
CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone who is celebrating a birthday in the week ahead. Special greetings and many more to Kaylee Hanstein, Lilah van Heerden, Kris Gallager, Driekie Strauss, Cecelia Morris, Gordon Reynolds, Jean Page, Andrew du Plessis, Calla-Ann Faca, Gavin Breeden, Lynette Hansen, James Boucher, Marie du Plessis, Cary Davies, Jennifer Groenewald, June Barnes, Emma Myburgh, Noxolo Kiviet, Jeff Earle, Lyn Harbrecht, Karel Prins, June Smith, June Hart, Dominique Willat, Helen Purdon, Amanda Ludick, Roarke Penn, Beverley Welsh, June Whittaker, Des Gallagher, Madelaine Murray, Lizzy Gouws, Fuzeka Runeli, June Keeton, Robert Godfrey, Vaughn de la Mare, Lyndon Coltman, Pat (Paddy) Thorp, Beatrice Crawford, Lloyd Stevenson, Andrew Nell, Megan van Niekerk, Yvonne Surtees, Lee Botha, Claire Burriss, Beverly Oosthuizen, Peter van der Merwe, Matthew Dell, Delina van Heerden, Mary Rinaldi and Shirley Lassek.
CONTINUED success and warm congratulations to the following businesses/organisations on another anniversary, especially Siliseal, Olofs Motor Spares, PA Art Club on 62 amazing years, and PA Scouts Club.
AFTER a slight recovery late last week, the currency found itself in the doldrums once more. Despite the easing of pressure on the electrical grid during the lockdown, Eskom is once more speaking of the possibility of loadshedding. That has potential investors extremely nervous. As we go to press, and with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R17.09 to the Dollar (R14.53), R21.62 to the Pound (R18.28) and R19.34 to the Euro (R16.29). Gold was trading at $1.730.18 ($1,343.10) per fine ounce, platinum at $824.55 ($805.00), and Brent crude oil price at $39.35 per barrel ($62.50).
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, Olof Ferreira, Jan Haig and Bev Young.
OUR heartiest congratulations to all celebrating the wonderful occasion of their wedding anniversaries, especially Terry and Margaret West, Barry and Herma Purdon, Douglas and Nancy Meyer, Robert and Emily Blenkinsop, Stefan and Kelly Ferreira, Neil and Tarryn van de Linde, John and Debbie Ford and Mariane and Chris Walwyn.
THOUGHT for the week: “If you don’t have a plan for personal growth, then don’t expect to grow!”
BEST regards as always,