Hendri Pelser
3 minute read
1 Feb 2021
9:46 pm

Editor’s first take: Vaccines and booze on the same day? Enough already!

Hendri Pelser

Over the New Year period the ban on alcohol was absolutely justified. We are a month past that point. Pitting the lockdown restrictions, most of which are weeks past due, against the loss of life, is a weak excuse at best.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza check the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccine at OR Tambo International Airport, on 1 February 2021. Picture: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa did not sound like a well man as he addressed the nation on Monday evening.

Sure, the man must be tired. Very, very, tired.

Perhaps, however, he knew that he was spinning so hard that he might just fall on his face at any stage.

“We will leave no stone unturned,” he said referring to procurement of the number of vaccines required to reach herd immunity in South Africa.

South Africa is far down the line when it comes to the procurement process.

Very, very far down the line.

The truth of the matter is that this government sat back while first world countries were paying in cash for their orders.

READ MORE: Here’s Ramaphosa’s new rules on booze sales

We, in turn, were paying PPE tenderpreneurs millions upon millions in cash for nothing. Literally.

In the meantime, people have been losing their jobs due to the level 3 restrictions in place since 28 December 2020.

Livelihoods crushed, dreams shattered and an economy on its knees.

Sure, it was not Ramaphosa’s fault – or his government’s – that a new and more virulent strain of the coronavirus manifested in South Africa.

But the response to this new variant was theirs.

Over the New Year period the ban on alcohol was absolutely justified. We are a month past that point.

Pitting the lockdown restrictions, most of which are weeks past due, against the loss of life, is a weak excuse at best.

Many of the adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations could have been lifted a week ago at the very least if you are being generous. Some restriction could have been lifted two weeks ago if you are being honest.

That would have meant a lifeline for many small business owners – and their employees – on the verge of closing up shop (if it is not too late already).

However, we will now remain on new adjusted, again adjusted, other adjusted level 3

Similarly, the State of Disaster will probably be extended again on 15 February, taking us to the one-year mark since this pandemic hit our shores officially.

More of the same it seems, nearly 12 months in: action and reaction, push and pull, reality and propaganda.

Ramaphosa came across as a defeated man during his address and I surely do not want his job.

However, this continued bungling in the response to the pandemic cannot be forgiven.

Similarly, the continued status quo of government-sanctioned propaganda can no longer be left unchallenged.

For Ramaphosa and his government to lift so many level 3 restrictions on the same day as a mere million or so vaccines hit the tarmac is absolute grandstanding.

These vaccines, in the grander scheme, mean nothing. It is nothing to celebrate.

Monday’s “family meeting” could have happened a week ago. But, it happened today. The day when it made for great footage and sound bites to greet a plane with vaccines.

Vaccines and booze on the same day? Are you kidding me?

READ NEXT: Government gazettes level 3 lockdown regulations on booze, curfew

Hendri Pelser is The Citizen’s Acting Digital Editor. 

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