AFTER 308 days of National Lockdown under Covid-19 restrictions, and with the country on level 3, businesses are suffering and none more so than the hospitality industry. As a prime holiday destination Ndlambe relies on tourists for survival and, because of lockdown regulations, many of our businesses have had to close, some never to reopen. An open letter sent by Gerhard Papenfus, the CEO of the National Employees Association of South Africa (Neasa) suggests that theway to help alleviate the situation is to buy local. He said that those locals who could afford it should visit cafes and restaurants, buy a meal or just a cup of coffee. Every bit helps to keep the businesses afloat and the employees in jobs. So, when you’re out doing your shopping, go and sit at one of our eating establishments and have a coffee and/or a sandwich. Every rand spent could keep a business running or a waiter, chef or dish washer in a job.
NDLAMBE has lost a lot during the lockdowns for the pandemic and it seems that we will have to wait some time before things begin to get back to normal. The main social events that bring thousands of visitors were cancelled last year including the Amanzi Challenge (two weeks of international as well as local coastal sport), the Bathurst Agricultural Show (an actionpacked weekend at one of the oldest and most prestigious agricultural show in the country), The Bathurst Art Fair (that attracts artists and art-lovers from all over the country) and the Bathurst Book Fair (with hundreds and thousands of books and thousands of visitors) to name just some of the victims of the lockdown. It seems that Bathurst might have been the biggest loser in all this. Then we must mention the literally hundreds of shows that were cancelled last year. There are also the bands, comedians, dancers, actors and singers who were not allowed to perform because of the pandemic, and who have lost out; semi-professionals and professionals alike who rely on the revenue from performances to stay afloat. As Papenfus suggested, we must support local so, if someone is performing to a small audience in a café or restaurant, please support them. A simple acknowledgement will not help feed them but recognising that they are still appreciated gives hope for the future of the arts in Ndlambe.
RATHER than talk about the government’s failure regarding vaccine acquisition again this week, we’ll just say that former Gauteng premier Herman Mashaba‘s call for a private sector-led national vaccine fund sounds like the right way to go. This leads to the question as to whether people still have faith in the government. From the heavy-handed actions of law enforcement to some of the nonsensical rules of the lockdown, many have lost confidence in the government. The apparent double standards applied to politically connected people and we, the “ordinary” folk, are so glaringly obvious that trust has become a huge issue. From firing an automatic weapon at a rally with no consequences to breaking travel restrictions during lockdown, and refusing to attend an official inquiry because you are the former president of the country, it seems politicians have considerably more flexibility as to whether they obey the regulations or not. Take as a prime example Mpumalanga’s premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, who was captred on camera not wearing a mask and hugging others at the funeral of ANC stalwart Jackson Mthembu. Despite being caught, quite literally, in a bare-faced lie (she said she hadn’t noticed her mask was not on her face, even after deputy president David Mabuza informed her of the fact) she admitted wrongdoing and paid a fine. Does she get a criminal record like ordinary folk? And why are the police “investigating” the incident? They were there and, if that’s not good enough, the national press and others attending have video evidence. People who are even accused of a crime, never mind admitting guilt, should step aside, said the ANC National Executive Committee. But then, it doesn’t look as though ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is going to step aside anytime soon. There can only be one law and it must be administered evenly, without fear or favour, to all citizens and residents of SA, politically connected or not.
GREETINGS and happy birthday wishes to everyone enjoying another special day in the week ahead, especially Shane Timm, Nosicelo Jongwana, Mike Brown, Joy Venter, Kate Bendeman, Emma Thorp, Merna McCabe, Merryl Uys, Keanan Bergins, Michael Tarrant, Alex Harris, Denis Brummer, Mike Beaumont, Kirsty Jooste, Heston Botha, Fransje Spieker, Brendon Wicks, Mya Schultz, Brigette Muller, Sally Davidge-Pitts, Val Astrup, Glynn Gudmanz, Amanda Rathbone, Odette van der Merwe, Heather Howard, Lara Sheffield, Len Clark, Ross Barnard, Cheryl Moss, Karen Cronje, Edith Blackbeard, Belinda Botha, Lindy Heny, Leon du Plessis, Nan Hanly, Sarie Gysman, Cecily Gould, Doc Charles Louw, “Flame” Metter, Alfred Stevenson, Beverly Cockcroft, Leandre Marais, Dianne Barnes.
WISHING all businesses celebrating an anniversary further success for the future, especially The Courtyard, Fish River Diner, The Roof and Truss Plant and Multi Security (Bathurst).
FINANCIALLY, things are not going well for us at the moment. The price of Brent Crude is hovering around the $55 per barrel mark and will probably stay there for the next few weeks as oil production gets back to normal and industry picks up. The rand is in a very precarious position as it hovers just above the R1=$15 mark, but this is likely to fluctuate drastically over the next few months. If vaccines do not arrive and travel bans to other countries are not lifted (which they won’t be until vaccines are available in South Africa) we could find the currency falling to new lows. If that happens, imports will become much more expensive and exporters will end up losing money if they cannot increase the price of their products. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R15.17 (R14.62) to the dollar, R20.83 (R19.03) to the Pound and R18.39 (R16.09) to the Euro. Gold was trading at $1,846.28 ($1,571.42), Platinum trading at $1,807.00 ($991.20) and Brent Crude was $56.08 ($60.02).
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, Lesley Stevenson.
SINCERE condolences to the family and friends of Darryl John Holland who passed away on Saturday January 23. May the memories of good times spent together carry you through this sad time.
CONTINUING happiness and our congratulations to all couples celebrating another year of wedded bliss, especially to Thomas and Gayle Barnardt, Charles and Dawn Friderichs, Trevor and Beverley Els, Roger and Mary-Anne Gailey.
THOUGHT for the week: “If you think you have someone eating out of your hand, it’s a good idea to count your fingers”.
BEST regards as always,