TODAY marks 436 days since the national lockdown was announced. We are on level 3, as adjusted, as the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus seems to be easing somewhat in Gauteng. Yet, according to some experts, cases are increasing along the coastal towns of SA. Ndlambe has reported fewer infections than many of the other areas in the province during the first and second waves, and there is hope that we can avoid serious contagion. Still, for those infected, the risks are still the same as anywhere else. Now that we know the vaccines available do not protect people against contracting the virus, and that all safety protocols (as imposed by government) must still be adhered to (mask wearing, sanitising, social distancing), many are asking; what is the point of the vaccine? Experts tell us that symptoms from Covid-19 are lessened after taking the vaccine and, aside from a few exceptions, the vaccine has saved many lives. But steps to restrict attendance at sporting events, international travel, public gatherings (churches, concerts, and so on) by introducing vaccine passports is a contentious issue. Many see it as an infringement of their human rights and there have been large public protests in Europe and Australia. Governments around the world (and the pharmaceutical companies) are losing the trust of the people and social media is rife with both information and disinformation. This distrust of governments may extend well beyond the current pandemic.
COOPERATIVE governance and traditional affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has set the date for the local government elections as October 27. Former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke’s report recommends postponement of the elections until (no later than) February 2022. Dlamini-Zuma said it was necessary to gazette the date of the elections for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to apply to the court for a postponement. Moseneke recommended the postponement as he contends elections held in October would not be free and fair. We will have to wait for the outcome of the court.
THE 2020 Tokyo Olympics (originally scheduled to take place last year) are in progress but the pandemic has forced many athletes to miss a potentially once-in-a-lifetime chance for Olympic glory. Not so for our very own Tatjana Schoenmaker who, in a brilliant display of skill and tenacity, managed to win gold in Tokyo as well as creating a new world record at 2 minutes, 18.95 seconds in the women’s 200m breaststroke event. At the time of going to press, SA held a total of three medals – one gold and two bronze and were placed at 36th position of the 79 teams on the medals table.
BIRTHDAY congratulations and very best wishes for the year ahead to everyone having a special day this week, especially Edith Miskin, Adie Wilkins, Paul Thorp, Rachel-Ann Strachan, Burg Naude, David McCowen, Barbara Spencer, Colleen Firth, Cecil Swart, Biff Todd, Nadia Grimbeek, Flora Kuhlane, Peter Smethurst, Alda Elliott, Lara Reed, Angie Botha, Toezie Turner, Nancy Schnehage, Lyn Haig, Elsie Merifield, Craig Robertson, Gill Marcus, Lynda Clarke, Hannah Coetzee, Megan Waddington, Jimmy Joubert, Sandy Birch, Alan Hulley, Janet Collett, Matthew Steck, George Morgan, Ian Macpherson, Una Webber, Jay Williams, Eric Strydom, Janene Lynn Turner, Hikash Maharaj, Michael Swanepoel, Yvonne Mackenzie and Jenni Muller.
BUSINESS anniversary congratulations and all the best for your continued success to Bushman’s Bar and Grill.
OPEC+ and the machinations of those who control the flow of crude oil have not settled as yet and the price of this commodity has not levelled out yet as anticipated. Rather, Tuesday evening was the last chance to avoid paying the huge 80c fuel hike implemented at midnight. Inland, motorists will now pay R18.11/l for unleaded 93 petrol, while it’s slightly lower at the coast at R17.59. Though SA has experienced several record highs in the price of fuel over the last 12 months, never has the fuel price exceeded $18 per barrel. With the local government elections potentially delayed until February next year, the criminal prosecution of high-ranking current and former leaders of the country, and the fact there is a world-wide pandemic, SA’s long walk to freedom may take a while longer to be realised. With last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the Rand was trading at R14.26 to the dollar (R17.25), R16.91 to the Euro (R20.40), R19.87 to the pound (R22.61). Commodities were trading at: gold $1,812.04 per fine ounce ($2,043.39), platinum at $1,052.00 per fine ounce ($940.80) and Brent crude oil at $72.58 ($44.47) per barrel.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations and best wishes to all couples having an anniversary, especially Claude and Susan McLellan.
THOUGHT for the week: “A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”
BEST regards as always,