DAY 147 of the national lockdown, and day three of lockdown Level 2. Alcohol and tobacco can once again be sold legally (as opposed to their illegal sale that has been the only available source and used ubiquitously throughout the lockdown). Travel is also back on the agenda, good news for the hospitality and related industries which have suffered greatly due to the lockdown. However, while you may now travel around South Africa, international travellers will have to wait a while longer. It’s nice to know that you can now visit family and friends, although any grouping is still restricted to 10 people or less. Social events are still restricted to 50 people or less and social distancing, mask wearing and sanitisation are all still requirements under Level 2 conditions. There is still a curfew in place from 10pm until 4am, but this begs another question: if pubs are open until 10pm at the time the curfew begins, how do you get home? Must you take a camperbed and sleeping bag with you so you can sleep in the pu? Also, it seems the virus strangely poses no risk when you remove your mask to sip your beer and eat your food in the pub or restaurant.
IT was great to see President Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t make the any mistakes in his address to the nation on Saturday evening. Possibly half of South Africa tuned in on their TVs or on YouTube at 2pm on Monday in eager anticipation of finding out from Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma if our president got it right this time.
IN the meantime, be inspired by local ladies who have taken the bull by the horns and made a success of their respective businesses, as featured in our Women in Business feature this week.
PEOPLE in Ndlambe as well as others throughout the country were showing great restraint on Tuesday and there were no queues outside bottle stores or at the local pubs. Mind you, that might be due to there being plenty of alcohol available (albeit at vastly inflated prices) throughout the lockdown, provided you knew who to ask. Let’s hope that the number of road accidents or drunken assaults does not increase as a result, and that alcohol is used wisely and in moderation.
WHEN will government realise that continuously propping up failed SOEs (state-owned enterprises) with our money will not work? We need new players to enter the market and make electricity available to all, and at competitive prices. Eskom’s nosedive is not the failure of ordinary South Africans but the fault of incompetent management and government. So, why did the courts overturn NERSA’s decision to prevent extortionate price increases in electricity tariffs? The weather gets colder every year at this time, so how is it that Eskom seems so unprepared? Could there be a touch of sabotage taking place, or is Eskom management really that inept? The current high probability of loadshedding at short notice will not inspire confidence in potential investors (see the exchange rates to confirm this).
WHERE is the money? We know that government ministers and officials have profited from the Covid-19 regulations and shouldn’t be surprised as they have been looting for years and they weren’t about to miss out on such a great opportunity. Government has set up a special collaborative investigative unit to look into the misappropriation of funds intended to help the poor. This is a multidisciplinary unit comprising police detectives, prosecutors and other attorneys to quickly identify and prosecute perpetrators. Sound familiar? It should, it is a reconstitution of the erstwhile Scorpions Unit that was disbanded for going after senior members of government. Will the same happen again? We will have to wait and see.
CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone enjoying a special day in the week ahead, especially Karen Kew, Sipho Tandani, Kim Radloff, Henry Pringle, Sharon Khan, Chandra Knowles, Eunice van Rooyen, Amanda Pretorius, Sid Penny, Connor Holforty, Jacqueline Harris, Len Bohnen, Olivia Prince, Hilton Keeton, Daphne Howarth, Mary Long, Gordon Goff, Gys Waller, Stan Webber, Susan Nel, Tammy Johnson, the Scheeper’s twins – Brodwyn and Andrico, Neville Hope, Carel Marais, Sylvia Ehlers,Jacqui Parsons, Tracey Wright, Christina Chitsiga, Minnie Jacobs, Alison Colville Reeves, Ettienne vMarais, Jill Macregor, Jayden Wilson, Marion Kelly, Harvey Pike, Dawn Hains, Mario Colussi.
A SPECIAL birthday greeting to Olive Pike who turned 100 on August 19.
ANNIVERSARY congratulations and continued success to all businesses or organisations celebrating an anniversary at this time of the year, especially to Falcon Crest Self Catering Cottage and B&B in Port Alfred on their 15th anniversary, Damant Lodge (46), Standerwick Nursery, Kidd Co, Nemato Sunshine Spar, The Grace and Truth Church, Kenton-on-Sea Primary School.
THERE is no disputing the global economy has suffered greatly over the last five months or so and that it will take businesses a long time to make up for what they have lost. Some might never recover, leading to more job losses and increased poverty. It is also disturbing that some of the richest people in the world have benefited greatly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic (see Jon’s opinion piece in last week’s edition). However, at a time when the easing of restrictions should have increased confidence in the South African economy, it has not and the rand is currently on a swift downward trend. This has probably got to do with our failed SOEs, Eskom, and its inability to carry out its designated function. Investors will be wary and not invest in a country where electrical power is intermittent and unpredictable. With 2019’s figures in brackets for comparison, Gold was trading at $2,009.26 per ounce ($1,944.44), Platinum at $960.31 per ounce ($853.20) and Brent Crude Oil at $44.80 per barrel ($60.86). The and was trading at R17.41 to the Dollar (R15.27), R22.93 to the Pound (R18.52) and R20.74 to the Euro (R16.94).
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, Jenny Groenewald, Jan Haig, Charlton Hilpert and family and Bev Young.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations to all couples enjoying this wonderful occasion, especially Rudi and Ava Beukes, Rob and Lydia Gimbel.
THOUGHT for the week: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome”.
BEST regards as