TODAY marks 461 days since the first national lockdown regulations (level 5) were imposed and it was back to level 4 of the lockdown regulations on Monday after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s family meeting on Sunday. However, the adjusted level 4 is not as harsh as it was previously and beaches and parks are still open, there is no restriction on the sale of products except for alcohol, but restaurants, pubs and taverns are closed. The curfew is now from 9pm to 4am. Public gatherings of any type except for funerals are banned (up to 50 people at a funeral), but there can be no political, religious, sporting or social gatherings or vigils allowed. Restaurants can only serve takeaways with no sit-down service. Interprovincial travel is discouraged and travel into and out of Gauteng for social purposes is prohibited.
MASK wearing and sanitising have become a standard part of life. For us oldies it was difficult enough to always remember to take our phones with us, let alone our masks as well. Younger people, however, have had far less problems adapting to the change. It just shows how quickly societal norms can be adjusted.
THE ban on the sale of alcohol is difficult to justify, given that black marketers flooded the market with illicit and vastly over-priced booze during the last ban. Anyone who wants alcohol can still get some as we can all find a source for illicit booze. The government’s idea is to prevent alcohol-related hospitalisations through domestic violence and drunk driving or fighting, and spare the beds for Covid-19 emergencies. But shouldn’t the police and the judiciary do their jobs and prevent crime (harsher sentences for perpetrators) rather than banning alcohol sales? The closure of restaurants has also faced huge criticism. One local business-owner was furious that Ramaphosa had said people had to remove their masks to eat in restaurants. “Really?” he demanded. “Stating the obvious fact you can’t eat with a mask on is not a reason to ban sitdowns, particularly if we socially distance.”
THE subject on everyone’s lips this week is; “Where is the water?” After years of unfulfilled promises, illegal and contested tenders and contract appointments and “faults” with pumps, weirs and dams, the 2ML seawater reverse osmosis plant was scheduled to start producing water last week. So, the municipality and guests (excluding the press) were invited and what fun they had, tasting the water from the plant as though it was champagne. And two days later … oops, the main pipeline broke. But didn’t the contractor just lay that pipeline? Didn’t anyone test the line beforehand? Surely, this represents a level of incompetence that should have someone held to account? Where is the indignation from our public representatives and why is the municipality not taking accountability for this disaster? A privately-owned company would have seen heads roll.
LOCALLY, the new level 4 lockdown regulations will have a devastating effect on our local economy. Previous regulations brought the hospitality industry to its knees, but further bans on restaurants and taverns will see many of our smaller businesses closing down, with a loss of jobs. This will lead to more poverty and, potentially, more crime in our area. Just how long we can sustain the local economy with no revenue from tourists is a major concern for all. Added to the sewage, water and potential electricity issues we already face, how long can we keep Port Alfred going?
THERE could be an exciting end to the weekend as former president Jacob Zuma is expected to hand himself in at the Nkandla SAPS offices on Sunday after being found guilty of contempt of court when he refused to attend the commission of inquiry into state capture. Zuma has remained adamant that he will not testify on the grounds he will incriminate himself. Have Zuma’s days of defiance come to an end, or will the MKMVA guard their former president with their lives, as they have previously committed to do? Sunday will give us the answer.
CONGRATULATIONS, and wishes for a happy birthday to all enjoying such an event in the week ahead, especially Greg Timm, Vukile Gongqa, Leslie- Anne Phillips, Carel Swart, Gay Ford, Malcolm Smith, Phyllis Futter, Odette Hilpert, twins Daniel and Hannah du Plessis, Betty Bruton, Edna Smethurst, Roy Hewett, Doreen Steenkamp, Robin Gout, Rodney Keet, Robin McLean, Ann Leese, John Potter, Brenda Pringle, Pam Stark, Neville Williamson, Pumeza Maronya and Vanessa Avis.
BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and continued success for many more years to come to GBS Mutual Bank, Trellidor and Eugene’s Plumbing Services.
THE global markets are difficult to assess at this time as there are too many factors to enable an accurate forecast. With last year’s figures in brackets for comparison, at the time of going to press the Rand was trading at R14.30 to the Dollar (R17.27), R19.82 to the Pound (R21.49) and R17.03 to the Euro (R18.82). Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,771.59 per fine ounce ($1,757.32); platinum at $1,079.00 ($825.55) and Brent crude oil at $73.97 per barrel ($42.98).
BEST wishes for many more and our heartiest congratulations to the following couples celebrating an anniversary, especially Craig and Claire Sponneck, Judy and Richard Hensall, John and Sharon Nicol, Colin and Joan Purdon, Godfrey and Meryl Howes and Schalk and Nicole Voster.
THOUGHT for the week: “Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.”
BEST regards as always,