The latest round of Covid-19 lockdown regulation during the third wave of coronavirus restrictions in South Africa are still nonsensical, the author writes. File image. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)
The latest round of Covid-19 lockdown regulation during the third wave of coronavirus restrictions in South Africa are still nonsensical, the author writes. File image. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Lockdown SA: The government is trying to square the endless circle of lives vs livelihoods

By Kevin Ritchie Time of article published Jul 3, 2021

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Johannesburg - Ramaphosa must have he thought he was the anti-Christ this week. Well he was for the anti-vaxxers, but as they say in Afrikaans, if you don’t want to listen, you’ve to feel it. As the inimitable talk show host Lester Kiewit tweeted on Monday morning, finding anyone who didn’t break a single third-wave prevention rule will be like looking for a National Party voter in 1994.

“They don’t exist and it’s totally someone else’s fault. I mean even me. ‘But it’s fatigue you see’ ‘Where’s the vax?’ We’re all collectively to blame.”

He’s right. This latest lockdown is on us.

It’s difficult though. The people who work in the hospitality industry will be distraught. They’re at the bottom end of an economic pyramid that’s already tottering and it’s not as if people won’t be drinking – at home or in speakeasies that are unlicensed, unregulated and untaxed. There’s no money for them either. No TERs, no Covid grants, hell there isn’t enough money in the kitty to pay for the vaccines that we have managed to get to be injected at the weekend.

At least this time the Woolworths chickens, the open toed sandals and the crop tops weren’t banned. You don’t have to fake a fishing licence to get onto the beach, but you can’t go to the gym, or church to worship – but you can go to a funeral or a cremation.

The regulations, almost 16 months in, are still nonsensical because government is trying to square the endless circle of lives vs livelihoods; you can squeeze into a taxi to get to work or starve, but you can’t have a meal if you socially distance.

It would help if more of us had been injected, but even then, we would still be sitting with a crisis because not enough of us would have been to achieve herd immunity.

There’s no doubt the government should have done better, there’s no doubt that fingers were in the till. We can’t help ourselves; state capture didn’t end with Jacob Zuma, he just showed what could be achieved if you put your mind to it.

But the true villains are us.

We were complacent, as Ramaphosa politely put it. What we really need is to start giving a shit about others. We also need a vaccination against fake news and fake science – and the urge to spread it on smart phones.

Some of our leaders have been appalling too; those who weren’t moaning like Karens and threatening to report the manager to the CEO, were hosting superspreader events and bullying women (again) to force the authorisation of vaccines that don’t even work on many of the variants.

The smokers are okay this time, which is perhaps why Sputnik was a better bet for the Teletubbies, and as Ranjeni Munusamy quipped, parodying Ramaphosa’s fanboying of Long Walk to Freedom; “As we climb the hills and hurdles, we can still smoke zol”.

But you can’t buy dop.

The British and Irish Lions delayed their flight on Sunday night. Was it to load extra supplies, because their jol had suddenly become BYOB?

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