Neighbourly Notes – 04 February 2021

AUCTION WATCHERS : Michell Rynders and her husband Eldin, attend the cattle auction at the Bathurst Showgrounds last Thursday. Picture: ROB KNOWLES

WOULD you believe it has been 315 days since the national lockdown was first imposed? To some, myself included, 2020 was a blur and, with Christmas and the New Year parties cancelled there was little to herald the start of 2021. Now, as we come to the end of the first week of February, it at last seems as though some level of normality has returned to the country. Pubs and restaurants are able to sell alcohol again, the curfew has been amended and only starts at 11pm (and ends at 4am), people are free to swim and visit beaches and parks and are beginning to recover from their enforced hibernation. But would it not have been easier if all of the restrictions made sense? Banning beach walks and swimming was unnecessary and actually counter-intuitive. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that people are up to 20 times more likely to contract Covid-19 indoors than outdoors. It is therefore unlikely that, out in the open air, one would contract the virus and this caused massive consternation among many, including the beachgoers and surfers from our area. Over Christmas and New Year when tens of thousands attend parties on the beach the ban was perhaps understandable, but to extend it throughout the month of January was unnecessary and actually harmed tourism and business. In the restaurant industry, many locals breathed a sigh of relief that they could start work again after weeks and months at home with no income. As has been said by many, buy local and as often as you can to support our local businesses.

SOUTH Africa witnessed the arrival of the first one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine this week and celebrations were evident, but was this really a turning point in the fight against the virus? The first doses are earmarked for those most vulnerable including health workers and those older folk with comorbidities. But, to enable herd immunity (or, as the ever politically correct politicians say, “population immunity”) will only be reached when 80% of the population is vaccinated. With an official population of 58.56-million people in the country, almost 47-million people would need to be vaccinated for herd immunity, meaning that we are about 46-million doses short. Also, herd immunity suggests that those who have been vaccinated will not be infectious. However, Covid is mutating and, like the yearly flu shots, is likely to be around from now on, requiring a yearly booster dose to ward off the virus. The bottom line is that Covid-19 is going to be with us for a long time.

REGARDING vaccine rollout, the process has to be completely transparent. Remember the PPE scandals where literally billions were stolen? Even before we have enough vaccines, the number of companies and individuals who now want to tender for a slice of that enormous pie are growing. Everyone now seems to have cold storage facilities, or refrigerated transport vehicles, or even knows how to administer an injection. No more corruption – South Africans have had enough.

IN national news, one of the biggest items this week is that former president Jacob Zuma has said that he will not comply with the summons to attend the state capture inquiry, despite the Constitutional Court ruling that he must. But this is not just another of the many delaying tactics employed by Zuma, it a direct threat on the constitution of the country. If a former president can flout the constitution of the country and get away with it, then our constitution is rendered effectively worthless.

CONGRATULATIONS and greetings to everyone celebrating a special day in the week ahead. Happy birthday, especially to Christopher Drew, Chantel Herbst, Karla Venter, Jann Haig, Shannon Manning, Justin Venables, Annelize Botha, Andre Cothill, Clinton Berriman, Allan Horsfield, Val Astrup, Tammy van Heerden, Keenen Hendricks, Kris van Zyl, Tertia Hockin, Norman Wedderburn, Rob Knowles, Nonyameko Siyolo, Juan Bessinger, Rocky Rowe, Hillary Bryant, Des Wright, Suzanne Fitchet, Fay Smith, Rowen Loretz, Roy Bowles, Jack Malan, Marlene Wiese, Gloria Kamkam, Hendrik Koekemoer, Mike Neave, Magda Loubser, Edmund Hall, Marilyn Michau, Linda Smuts, Russell Kearney.

BUSINESS and service organisation anniversary congratulations with wishes for further success for the future to Jumbo Store, The Jewellery Shop, 2nd Time Around, The Port Alfred Hospital and Woollgar Attorneys.

TUESDAY evening saw cars lining up at the petrol stations to fill up with petrol. If you are one of the unlucky few who forgot, all grades of petrol went up be a whopping 81c per litre, diesel by 58 and 59c per litre and illuminating paraffin by 59c per litre. The markets are currently taking hits from amateur traders, with GameStop being the initial target, hedge funds taking the biggest hit (some losing several billion US dollars in the process). This week silver breached the $30 per ounce mark for the first time and regulators are now investigating how these things can be avoided in the future. The idea of a free market system is simply an illusion. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R14.99 (R14.72) to the US Dollar, R20.45 (R19.21) to the British Pound and R18.02 (R16.24) to the Euro. Gold was trading at $1,838.94 ($1,552.16) per fine ounce and platinum was trading at a $1,135.00 ($965.68), Brent Crude was $57.65 ($55.39).

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.

OUR sincere condolences to the friends and family of Wessel Benson who passed away while out of the country. Congratulations to all couples on their anniversaries. Best wishes for many more great years ahead to Lance and Rose Parker, Warren and Kate Venter, Warren and Lisa Tarr, Allen and Helen Thompson.

THOUGHT for the week: “The greatest healing therapy in life is friendship and love”.

BEST regards as always,
The Team.

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