Neighbourly Notes – 2 July 2020

ALL THE MEMORIES: It was a day of mixed emotions on Tuesday, the last day of work for Mauneen Charter, one of TotT’s two founders, who bid adieu to the staff she has managed and nurtured over the last 24 years. We couldn’t hold a big gathering due to restrictions so the staff got together and Anneli Hanstein, who is taking over as manager, made snacks which we all enjoyed. Good luck Mauneen, you will be missed. Picture: ROB KNOWLES

AFTER 98 days of lockdown people are beginning to feel stircrazy and frustrated at the level of control the government, and specifically the Covid-19 Command Council, has on everyday matters and yet apparently no control over illegal sales of alcohol, tobacco or even the taxi industry. Psychologically, people are feeling depressed over not being able to work, earning less income, struggling with looking after children not allowed to return to school yet, restrictions on movement and having no contact with others. The effects on mental health will have psychologists and psychiatrists busy for much longer than the pandemic will last.

THE Covid-19 Command Council is not making life easier for the millions of smokers and drinkers who have spent all their money on illegal cigarettes and booze (although alcohol can now be legitimately purchased, but only during working hours). The government has lost all its potential revenue from the sale of cigarettes which has gone to the illicit cigarette manufacturers and distributors. How has any of this saved lives or prevented the contagion of the virus? The latest regulations say you can visit a restaurant provided you wear a mask at all times (except when eating, the reason people are in the restaurant in the first place) but you cannot purchase alcohol. But, if these restrictions are the right thing to do, why has no other overnment in the world banned cigarettes and alcohol? The government’s stalling over such matters is a good indication they really have no idea what they are doing and the excuses they use to justify their decisions are illogical and irrational. It is time for South Africans to take action and demand government lift regulations that makes life tougher. We are following the regulations like wearing masks and social distancing (except in taxis) but we need government to come to the party and lift the ridiculous restrictions that do nothing to save lives (from Covid-19) but make our lives miserable.

WHILE it appeared at one time that the Eastern Cape was only the fourth most affected province (behind the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal) the latest figures show a marked increase in cases in the Eastern Cape and locally, it appears that more and more people are contacting the virus. Friday was a frenzied day in town with cases reported at various locations and leading people to demand to be tested. However, testing mucus samples to detect the presence of Covid-19 is expensive and takes time to process. It is not possible to test everyone and this is why contact tracing is so important. However, using cellular networks to trace potential cases can present issues of privacy. The best advice is to wear masks and keep a distance of at least 1.5m between yourself and others and self-isolate should you feel ill. Remember that this is the traditional influenza season, so just stay warm and safe as we head toward springtime.

IT was mid-winter on June 21 so the evenings will begin to stay lighter for longer as daybreak gets earlier. Although the virus will be with us for at least another year or more, we really do need some entertainment in our area. I’ve spoken with several people who have far more experience in setting up shows and festivals and it seems that all our local artists are anxious to get going. So, in respect to a possible festival in August, I would like to ask all performers if they would like to appear in a mass music festival as soon as restrictions are lifted that allow more than 50 people to gather? We are looking for singers, dancers, bands and individuals. We might also combine this with other festivals planned for around the August period. By kind invitation of Foxy, this might be held at the Port Alfred Country Club. Let’s see what type of reaction to such a festival before we go too far with organisation. Please e-mail me if you are interested in performing or attending a music festival.

CONGRATULATIONS, greetings and wishes for a happy birthday to all enjoying such an event in the week ahead. All good wishes for the year to following especially to Betty Bruton, Edna Smethurst, Malcolm Christie, Roy Hewett, Doreen Steenkamp, Robin Gout, Rodney Keet, Robin McLean, Ann Leese, John Potter, Leslie-Anne Phillips, Carel Swart, Brenda Pringle, Gay Ford, Neville Williamson, Brandon Phillps, Layla Jonker, Phyllis Futter, Ben Beetge, Pumeza Maronya and Vanessa Avis.

BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and continued success for many more years to come to GBS Mutual Bank, Trellidor and Eugene’s Plumbing Services.

IT will take years before the South African economy recovers from the Covid-19 lockdown and it may never recover to the extent of pre-lockdown conditions. Our unofficial unemployment figures were already above 40% before March so it must now be well over the 50% mark. Steps taken to alleviate the weakening rand are mainly futile as international markets dominate and the rand is just being buffeted by movement of major currencies. The bad news for motorists is that, when fuel prices were at their lowest there was nowhere we could go. Now that we are able to travel a little more freely the price of fuel is increasing significantly. With last year’s figures shown in brackets for comparison, at the time of going to press the Rand was trading at R17.28 to the Dollar (R14.13), R21.23 to the Pound (R17.85) and R19.4 to the Euro (R15.97). Gold is trading at $1,768.68 per fine ounce ($1,392.63), Platinum at $822.34 per ounce ($839.25) with Brent Crude Oil at $41.27 per barrel ($64.92).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, EmileneBruwer, Jenny Groenewald, Olof Ferreira, Jan Haig and Bev Young.

BEST wishes for many more and our heartiest congratulations to the following couples celebrating an anniversary. These messages especially go to Craig and Claire Sponneck, Judy and Richard Hensall, John and Sharon Nicol, Colin and Joan Purdon, Godfrey and Meryl Howes and Schalk and Nicole Vorster.

THOUGHT for the week: “Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team


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