Neighbourly Notes – 30 July 2020

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Milkwood Retirement Village residents and owners, Biddy, left, and Rene Schalker displayed their thoughts in writing recently, but we are unsure if this meant the end of the lockdown or the end of the world.

CAN you believe it, 126 days of what are probably the most stringent lockdown regulations imposed anywhere in the world? Our national economy has taken a huge hit in terms of job losses and businesses closing down, unable to trade due to the decisions made by the Covid-19 command council (COMCO) and experts warn it could easily take more than three years to recover after restrictions are lifted. At a time when SA needs more funding the last four months has seen what the what the government would have made in sin taxes going rather to the pockets of black marketeers, with only a brief respite for the few weeks of legal alcohol sales.

LOCALLY, the number of break-ins, robberies and other crimes are on the rise and seem to go unpunished. Even if suspects are arrested, the courts appear to put no effort in securing convictions, or correctional services is unreliable in keeping such offenders in prison. But thanks to lockdown regulations, you can be arrested and have a permanent criminal record for purchasing a short-sleeved shirt.

NATIONALLY, many COMCO decisions seem unrelated to the pandemic and have proven counter-productive. The ban on the sale of alcohol was originally imposed ostensibly to relieve pressure on the healthcare system by prioritising Covid-19-related medical cases rather than dealing with cases that arise from alcohol abuse. Under pressure from various sources the ban was lifted but quickly re-imposed following a renewed spate of road accidents. But did anyone consider that if the police simply did their job and enforced existing laws such as arresting drunk drivers and wifebeaters it would not have been necessary to punish law-abidingcitizens? Similarly, the cigarette ban has forced smokers to source their fix from illegal sources. Not many, including myself, have given up the habit. Again, the justification is to relieve pressure on the healthcare system, but has it really helped? Restaurants have closed, some to never open again, due to stringent regulations on social distancing and, more relevant, not serving alcohol. The police spray peaceful protestors with water cannons and throw stun grenades. Perhaps the police and prosecuting authorities need to do their jobs and not enforce unjustifiable regulations. South Africans have, in general, played their part. It is now time the government played its part to relieve some of the unnecessary pressure these oppressive regulations have caused.

IT appears that, if we need the lockdown regulations to be relaxed or even lifted then destroying property or threatening to close down an entire sector of the economy is the only way to be heard. When the taxi associations threatened to shut down public transport and even destroyed trucks to highlight their point, no arrests were made and the taxis were allowed to be filled to 100% capacity (as opposed to the 200-300% our taxis are famous for). The concession to the government that taxi owners agreed to was to open up windows by 5cm. Taxis are obvious viral incubators, and the virus is not likely to come from outside or escape through a small opening in the windows. And who is seriously going to open windows in wintertime? So, in order to make your voice heard acts of anarchy seem to be the only thing the government responds to.

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone celebrating a birthday in the week ahead and may you all be blessed with lots of good things in the future, especially Neville Henley, Athol Canny, Renee Vroom, Kittie Joubert, Sue Broom, Elaine Brown, Doreen Dold, Jean French, Maureen Thierson, Alex van der Merwe, Richard Legg, Mitch Haupt, Leonard Smit, Greg Reed, Juan Bessinger, Glen Henning, Eileen Denis, Peter Thorp, Melinda Frankenfeld, Kerynn Dahl, Ben Timm, Simon du Plessis, Megan Wright, Ivor Phillips, Maureen Truscott, Louise Swanepoel, Andre Laas, Marin Johnson, Lyneth Gradwell, Janet Collett, Paul Thorp, Rachel-Ann Strachan, Tracy Lloyd, Anthony Skipper, Kye Macgregor, Stina Baker, Jacobus Grove, Taryn Lee, Petro Pretorius, Linda Edwards, Thandukolo Vaaltein, Tanya Adams and Magda Mugge.

BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and continued success for many years to come to Kekkel and Kraai, and L&W Couriers is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

AN amendment to the Employment Equity Act is being discussed in parliament that will see quotas associated with industries based on race. We are all aware of affirmative action in the workplace, but the amendment will mean that companies that do not comply will receive no tax-breaks or other forms of loans or funding. Is this fair? Surely SA needs competent and qualified people to do the jobs, irrespective of their colour or culture. Isn’t that what the Rainbow Nation was all about, a single society regardless of race.

THE IMF (International Monetary Fund) has approved a loan to the South African government of US$4.3 billion (approximately R70 billion) to carry the country through these tough economic times. Unlike previous loans (the last one made was in 1994 to assist in the establishment of a more equal society, post-apartheid) the only stipulation is that transactions must be transparent. Despite virtually no high-profile prosecutions, with ministers being accused of corruption, mismanagement and incompetence, is it realistic to expect any better this time around? Finance minister TitoMboweni has already conceded that the South African economy is likely to contract by 7.2% in 2020, and that is the largest contraction in almost 90 years. With 2019’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R16.53/$ (R14.19), R21.29/£ (R17.25) and R19.40/€ (R15.81). Gold was trading at $1,925.51 ($1,430.24) per fine ounce, platinum was $937.85 ($875) and Brent Crude Oil at $43.48 per barrel ($ 65.17).

SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all 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, Si Little, Kerry Charter and Bev Young.

WEDDING anniversary greetings and best wishes for many more years to enjoy together to all couples having such an occasion, especially Claude and Susan McLellan, Bev and Bess Radue.

THOUGHT for the week: “How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?”

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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