Neighbourly Notes – 25 March 2021

CELEBRATING A MILESTONE: Dee Jones-Phillipson celebrates her 80th birthday with family and friends at the Royal St Andrews Hotel on March 16 Picture: SUPPLIED

ONE day short of a year, today marks 364 days under the national lockdown regulations, currently at level 1. A year of restrictions has been difficult for many and lack of work, staying isolated at home and taking a wage cut has been most people’s experience during this trying, mentally challenging and often painful time. Not being able to see family members, especially the older members of our families who might be housed in health care facilities, has caused psychological issues in many, with isolation adding to the misery. Yet now, at level 1, many things are back to some semblance of “normal”, though we have probably forgotten what normal actually is. We are still required to wear masks when in public and maintain our social distancing, and so normal is a relative term. In SA, Covid infection rates, despite the new variant, are dropping significantly, yet only about 150,000 people have been vaccinated at this point. This is far short of the 75% to 80% purported to be required for herd immunity. Having res ld the R1m doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine into Africa for fear it was not effective against the SA variant, we are now receiving vaccines from Johnson and Johnson that should be rolled out from now and throughout the second quarter of the year.

WITH only a week to go, it is getting close to the Easter holidays and, unlike last year, South Africans may travel to their favourite holiday destinations. It is unlikely that Ndlambe will see as many visitors as in pre-Covid years, and the current water crisis in the area is likely to dissuade all but the most determined visitor. Added to this, the imminent threat of more loadshedding (Eskom says it is currently highly constrained and that this is a real possibility), as well as the price of fuel will force many potential holidaymakers to stay at home.

THE body of a second person from the car crash into the Kowie River on March 16 was discovered on Saturday morning, floating down the Kowie River at Wharf Street. Apparently canoeists came across the body and guided it toward the riverbank but were told to leave it while police and security retrieved it. But the story of what happened on Saturday was related to TotT on Friday, leading to speculation that Saturday ’s body was actually the third body to be recovered from the tragic motor vehicle incident. Police spokesperson Capt Mali Govender said there were only two bodies and not three. When asked on Friday about a second body Govender replied it was just “rumour”.

THE SAPS is under pressure at the moment and police officers seem to be taking advantage of the situation by exerting unnecessary force when exercising their authority. Take our story this week of a young woman who was allegedly beaten at the police station due to a false claim. Then, four police officers are being denied bail for the murder of Mthokozisi Ntumba during the Wits student protests, 257 officers are currently under arrest for corruption and, in total, 397 cases against police officers are being investigated. Surely this is a sign that something is wrong with the system? The police are responsible for ensure citizens’ safety and maintaining law and order. But the heavy-handedness of certain police officers has ordinary citizens afraid of the police and this is completely contrary to the SAPS’ stated mission. The police are also citizens and must not only be seen to be enforcing the law but must also act in accordance with it.

AFRIFORUM are going after President Cyril Ramaphosa for his involvement in cadre deployment, stating it was not possible that, as deputy president at the time, Ramaphosa was unaware of the corruption of those he appointed. It has requested the Inquiry into State Capture to call the president answer some important questions. With SA waiting for a definitive decision on former president Jacob Zuma’s refusal to attend the inquiry to answer questions, this could see a very dangerous and debilitating precedent, rendering all the time and money allocated to the inquiry a huge waste. We need leaders who are there to improve the lives of all South Africans, not just a cabal of connected cadres.

BIRTHDAY greetings, congratulations and good wishes to everyone celebrating a happy occasion in the week ahead, especially Mary Hobbs, Babette Vermaak, Hannah Beukes, Amillia Snyman, Cherie Antrobus, Jaden McKinnon, Ethan Tulk, John Dell, Mike Brown, Hannie de Flamingh, Sally-Ann Phillips-Page, Joy Geard, Vicky Kleynhans, Okkie duPlessis, Rosalie Hare, Christopher Phillips-Page, Jami Weeber, Jay-Leigh Taai, Julie Davidson, Eve Dombai, Vince McDuda, Shireen Hilpert, David Cooke, Daniella Swanepoel, Beryl Pancoust, Joyce Harrison, Charne Boshoff, Ashley Riddin, Ntia Sylianou, Wendy Cock, Linda Buchanan, Reuben Hayes and Tosca Spenceley.

EVERY success for many more years to follow to the following businesses and organisations on another anniversary, especially KTP Kitchens and Sports ‘n All.

THE international markets seem to have settled down over the last few weeks and have returned to some semblance of order, closely resembling the values before the start of the Covid pandemic. However, it is worth noting that with vaccine nationalism and battles with China over trade, together with racially-driven protests and climate change issues, as well as a possible third and more waves of Covid-19 to follow, the markets could regress at a moment’s notice. With last year’s figures in brackets for comparison, the currency was trading at R14.87 (R14.61) to the Dollar, R20.35 to the Pound (R19.32) and R17.60 to the Euro (R16.48). In the commodities department, gold was trading at $1,727.29 per fine ounce ($1,318.35), platinum was trading at R1,175.36 ($855.85) per ounce and with Brent crude oil at $60.26 ($67.48) per barrel.

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 and Lesley Stevenson.

CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes for many more years of happiness to all couples enjoying another anniversary, especially Craig and Melissa Keevers, Jedd and Tania Reid, René and Eileen Denis, Jimmy and Julia Jamieson.

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

BEST regards as always,
The team


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