Nonsensical and counter productive

Collo’s Column

The ban on liquor off-sales over the Easter weekend has nothing to do with preventing Covid infections, it is all about control. The ANC has lost control and has to do something to show that they are still in charge. They had to give in to the religious groups call for allowing bigger crowds at religious services so they had to show they still have muscle and what better way than to ban alcohol sales.

One would consider those on the Coronavirus Command Council (CCC) to all be reasonably intelligent beings. Surely they all have at least a matric so should have a modicum of common sense . Now we know the common sense cannot be taught, it is part of evolution so maybe herein lies the problem, or maybe not. So if they are reasonably intelligent why have they made such a nonsensical decision to ban liquor off-sales. This is how conspiracy theories start and gives credence to claims that the Black Marketeers are funding the election kittt.

Think about the stupidity of the liquor sales ban for a moment.

One of the main purposes of the various lockdown over the past year has been to avoid or reduce size of gatherings of people. From the very start when people were basically allowed contact with direct family that saw the hospitality and many other industries close to the present where, well in the cases of churches, there is almost no concerns of crowds it seems.

Surely having bottle stores open is not going to see more people in shopping centres. Having access to liquor is not going to see people drink less and surely encouraging them to drink at home is better than encouraging them to go to restaurants and most of all drive. . Those who can will have stocked up but those, especially the lowly paid will “maak a plan” and so the black market thrives.

So banning off-sales is actually counterproductive if you think about it.

Sunday lunch when the family gather to enjoy a few neers around the braai fnd they have no beer so dad loads the family into the car and they set off for the nearest restaurant.   Jannie feels like he wiill need a couple of brandy and cokes when he watches Bulls play the Lions but he forgot to buy on Thursday so off he goes to the nearest sports bar so he can watch the game.   In the township Freddie couldn’t get to the bottle store on Friday so he leaves his family and pops into the local tavern or shebeen for his fix.

Is the government not thus encouraging crowding rather than reducing it. Great for the reastaurants, pubs, taverns, shebeens and of course the black market but doing exactly the opposite to what they should be encouraging.

Congratulations to the  members of the CCC, may your piggy bank overflow.

Will he or Won’t he??

Collo’s Column

Well we will likely know the decision by this evening on whether the Coronavirus Command Council (CCC) has changed the lockdown conditions and as to what degree. Certainly alcohol will be atop their list for it would seem all ills during this pandemic, well according to some on the  CCC, liey directly on either alcohol or tobacco and pose the greatest vehicle to spread the virus.

It is no secret that alcohol and tobacco are as inseparable as the ‘Two Ronnies’ or rain and water hence the rise of the black marketeers and common knowledge that this market benefits greatly when either one of both of these commodities are banned and so naturally it gives rise to conspiracy theories.

So, the black market is a perfect funnel for raising election funds for the ANC and would make sense that law enforcement pay only attention to thos marketers not on their fund raising committee. Then again maybe it is the past President and his RET forces who are running the show for was not his son Edward once tied to allegations of  being involved in the illicit tobacco industry a few years back. With his dad considered the ‘behind the scenes leader’ of RET faction they surely a cash inflow to mobilise the troops to not only defend the Uncle Jacob but to also to get the Ace elected as President next year.  

Whatever the reason, should they again put restrictions on the liquor trade it will have serious repercussions not only to that industry but the entire hospitality industry. Longer curfew hours will see fewer people eating out at restaurants owing to restricted trading hours. Closing off-sales over the weekends will probably also result in the total banning the transporting liquor during the lockdown resulting in accommodation cancellations, particularly in  self-catering establishment & non-licensed B&B’s owing to unavailability of liquor over the period..

Unable to sell liquor over one of the busiest weekends of the year, the off-sale retailers in holiday towns such as St Francis (Tops & Blue Bottle locally) will suffer serious loss in potential income at a time when they are desperately trying to recover from all the previous lockdowns. That locals will binge buy to stock up prior to bans only helps cash flow for it means fewer sales in weeks to come as hoarders stocks slowly reduce before they restock their cellars.

There is also talk that the CCC is being lobbied to open up restrictions for religious gatherings by allowing up to 5000 people to gather outdoors and up to 1000 being allowed at indoors events. With the traditional migration of worshippers to Limpopo over Easter the CCC will be hard pressed to deny the religious leader calls. Many of the ANC voter base will be those attending these huge gatherings and surely they will not wnt to antagonize these voters. That they are super spreader events will be considered but even if they do not accede to the demands the crowds will still gather and defy the CCC.

The rumour mill has made no mention of closing the beaches because of the Third Wave being anticipated for this more than anything should be of concern to us beach walkers, bathers and surf lovers. Waves and beaches go together like rain and water and waves and surfing are as inseparable as the “Two Ronnies” so we need to hope that those on the CCC have at last understood that these Covid Waves have nothing to do with the ocean waves and so the beaches will remain open.

Here is hoping Level One will be left as it is. Enough is enough already.


A criminal record but a free ride home?

To commit a crime can be forgiven if one shows remorse and undertakes never to commit further crimes. Crossing that fine line a second time is not a habit but an intentional act and simply cannot be excused. A third transgression and now it has become a habit and the perpetrator can now be considered a hardened criminal. In some states in the US it is ‘three strikes and you’re out’ and locked up for 15 years to life.

Well yesterday I finally became that hardened criminal. Over the past 72 years I have been fortunate enough to avoid a life of crime and thus have never been arrested or convicted. Ooops once way back in the mid-70’s I was threatened with arrest for failing to pay a speeding ticket not realizing it was in fact a summons. But the cops took pity and gae me a warning to appear in court in Grahamstown at 9:00 am the next morning so I guess that doesn’t count.

On my very latest unlawful acts I have managed to avoid arrest but if the habit persists the law of averages will kick in and my continued disregard for  the law will destroy my chances of completing ‘Bucket List’ for with a criminal record never will  I be allowed to enter Aussie or New Zealand to watch the ‘Boks triumph over our southern rivals.

Securing employment too could prove difficult although there is hope I am told of securing a seat in parliament as a MP. Another option, although that was a few years back, would have been to get a job as an operative in State Security SA. I  have it on good authority that when you were short of cash you simply could put in a request and they would give you a couple of million in cash, no questions asked

And so to my criminal acts ,all three of them.

Those who know me will attest that I enjoy a beer at 5:00 pm come rain or shine. And so with lockdown Stage 3 I was ill prepared and found myself sans beer early this week. After some deliberation and frantic phone calls I managed to secure a carry pack of ‘light beer’. Had I known it tastes about the same insipid liquid alcohol free versions I would not have risked my future with such abandonment. But the deed was done.

Now faced with a dilemma of either sitting and drinking all six beers right there and then with my savior I had to decide if I was prepared to compound my life of crime and transport liquor in my car to get it home. And so I committed my second dastardly act and drove home with the carry pack hidden under all the junk I manage to carry in my car rather than dumping it in a recycling bins. Strike #2.

Now yesterday was the most gorgeous day and as Eskom decided to cut off our electricity for the entire day  the SSA saga being played out at the Zondo Commission was not an option. What else to do?

Empty Cape St Francis Beach

Good weather, a wide open beach totally devoid of human presence should I take a risk and compound my new found courage and lawlessness and risk Police Minister Cele who maybe hiding in the sand dunes.

Now one could say I am mobility challenged for to get to the beach I have to walk with  crutches so off I stumbled on my  20 to 30 minutes to complete the journey to water’s edge. Every movement of wind in the dunes could be Cele but finally relaxed as I dipped my toes into the ocean for I was pretty certain I wasn’t facing imminent arrest. A most enjoyable dip in the water I decided to push my luck and hang about on the deserted beach a little longer plucking up the energy for the arduous journey back up the beach and home.

I delayed to walk back a lot longer than I should have probably in the hope that one of those police informer Stoep Detectives would call in my disobedience and the men in blue would pounce. Now there was certain method in hoping this would happen for those hefty cops would have to carry me off the beach saving me the pain I would endure have to get home. I doubt would have faced a few hours in the slammer and a hefty fine to say nothing of the criminal record but it would have been worth a free ride home. What the heck at 72 years old who actually cares.

Jo Biden starts his four years in the hot seat

Jo Biden InaugerationAmericans may be loud and brash when we meet them touring but one thing we can say is they know how to put on a good show. Those who didn’t watch last night’s inauguration of now President Biden certainly missed a great show.

Every speaker was worth listening to and had a message worth listening to held one’s attention, even the priest at the start and the preacher at the end for neither went on too long.

So interesting was seeing the ex-presidents being introduced with all the pomp and pageantry that is probably more British than the Americans would like to admit. Clinton, Obama, all looking good and nice to see them interact with the last last Republican president, George W Bush.

Mike Pence was there to wave the Republicas flag choosing to witness the inauguration of a new president rather than say goodbye to his old boss at nearby Andrews Airforce Base Not surprising really considering the nasty things Trump had to say about his VP in the final days.  

Lady Gaga’s entrance was, well …..  Lady Gaga!  Her rendition of the Anthem was thankfully pretty much as the composer intended for so many who are given the honour, totally destroy what really is a magnificent anthem.

We had that once when a Rasta singer was given the job when the Boks were touring overseas and he managed to do a total number on our Soutth Africa anthem.

Where to designers come up with outfits like that worn by the Lady for surely it must be hellishly uncomfortable.  I know nothing about fashion but must say of the two J-Lo was dressed to fit the occasion rather than to steal the occasion.

Without doubt the highlight of the inauguration was Amanda Gorman, the youngest Poet Laureate ever. What a presentation. For five minutes she held an audience of millions in her hand. Her words were a lesson for all and if you weren’t tuned in and want to hear  what was quite simply outstanding you can listen to it and better still watch it here.

I have just listened to her again and no doubt will during the course of the day listen and watch again. Not poetry in motion, better!!

And so it was Jo’s turn. It is doubtful Donald would have been watching as he was probably cleaning his golf gear in preparation for his game in the morning but if he was, I doubt that television survived what must have been a missile assault of anything The Don could throw at it.

What a great speech the oldest president in US history gave and there can be no doubt he calmed the attitudes of many a Republican who was sitting on the fence. Conciliatory certainly but he lost no opportunity in calling out the need to stop the lies that dear  Donald had sprouted over the past week’s as he refused to give up the fight.

One thing that was different to Trump’s inauguration was, as I remember, it rained throughout the ceremony. Yesterday it apparently snowed shortly before the event then cleared with the entire ceremony taking place under bright sunshine. Maybe a good omen?

Rather funerals and church than healthy beaches

One can only wonder if Police Minister Cele is deploying as many police to monitoring funerals and church services as he is to the lone surfers on totally deserted beaches.  Why surfers who by their very presence in the water follow social distancing and are out there in a wide open sea absorbing fresh air and healthy doses of Vitamin E to fight off infection have become such a super-spreader threat and bane in Cele’s life is truly concerning and puts into question the intelligence of those who made the laws and are unable to apply common sense.

One can understand limiting the number of people on a beach on those busy public holidays when hordes invade but these days make up less than a handful in a year. If a dozen police are required to arrest one surfer on a normally deserted beach surely a police should be able to manage basic crowd control for they should be trained in just that and surely have enough experience in considering all the practice they have in controlling political demonstrations and unrest.

Similar to what happened in on the Langebaan beach yesterday happened on a relatively empty Cape St Francis beach on Sunday, probably the result of a Stoep Polisie report. And now according to press  Cele is about to move to empty Garden Rote beaches on the off chance that someone might not have yet washed the sea sand off their feet and so can be clapped into irons and carted off to jail.

Whilst those putting even a toe onto a beach are targeted and risk six months in prison, families wander around shopping centres en masse with no controls imposed on the number of members of a family allowed into a shop at a time. Visit any local shop in St Francis and you will find multiple family members needed to make  purchase be it Spar, the butchery or either bakery.

Groups still gather in townships and watch any SA television news channel and large groups will be ignoring social distancing, masks and all the other protocols as they protest one thing or another. Police seem conspicuous by their absence on these occasions for their deployment is to catch a solitary surfer is far more of a priority. Surely one poli constable on a lonely unoccupied beach is sufficient if surfers are even a threat in the first place.

Laws are made and should be followed certainly but no laws are intended to be totally unreasonable and not be policed with common sense. Many of our men and women in blue, not only in our precinct but around the country will apply the law with understanding, empathy, fairness and most of all, common sense. Sadly others consider themselves as storm troopers employed to punish not protect and sadly our Minister Cele is one of these.

Of course the police are required to act on any report of someone breaking a law and whistleblowers are a necessary part of policing. But whistleblowers or “STOEP POLISIE” who hide behind curtained windows petrified that someone transgressing a law will cause them personal harm do no more than call police from more important matters. Maybe when this pandemic is over some of these nasty souls can be identified and shunned by the community who largely respectful of the police and the laws, within reason.

Why our government has such a hateful attitude toward the beaches is mystifying for surely they are probably amongst the healthiest places to be in the summer months.

At the end of the day maybe there is a lot of truth in the conspiracy theory that this is all about control, global control.

Can this virus be stopped?

Collo's Comment

Eventually yes for man is able to achieve even the almost impossible given time. But it the meantime as this virus gains momentum in its second wave what is to say there are not more waves, possibly tsunamis, on the way in the near future as the virus mutates and resists man’s efforts to stop it.

Maybe, just maybe Mother Earth is fed up with us humans destroying her beautiful planet. She has given ample warning of her unhappiness but not only have we ignored her but we continue to cause her harm. The global warming denialists refuse to make any attempt to go green. We continue to pollute our oceans with plastic slowly choking marine life to a slow and eventual annihilation.  We have decimated many of the wildlife and insect species that we share this earth with some becoming extinct. And probably most serious of all, we continue to overbreed putting more and more strain on Mother Earth to provide us with the resources we need to survive.

Over the centuries Mother Earth has sent not so subtle hints that she is in charge. Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, viruses and a lot more have wiped outh millions. But man has an innate ability to learn from these efforts and given time has been able to find solutions for most and so are able to manage if not fully solve the most of her challenges. Tsunami warnings, evacuating areas likely to be flooded in a hurricane / cyclone and of course the many, many drugs and cures created by scientists to stop the spread of viruses and heal infections that would have kept population on this planet in check,

And so with Covid-19. No sooner had the world’s best scientist found a vaccine than Ma throws a curve ball and allows the virus to mutate into a new strain. How many new strains does she have up her sleeve and yes scientists will eventually bring the virus to it’s knees as we have with every other pandemic when Ma feels it is time. But at what cost before this can happen for the virus is not the only threat, unemployment, starvation, riots and more as government findsit impossible to provide for the masses.

The first wave proved deadly to the elderly, particularly to those with comorbidities in much the way as Mother Nature deals with wildlife tht  is injured, ill or too old to look after themselves – survival of the fittest. Now it seems the new mutation is now also attacking the young, if not killing them certainly making them extremely ill and who knows what future health problems will beset them in the future years as a result.

So scientists have finally created a few vaccines but will these work with this new strain and then the next strain and the next as the virus continues to mutate. And even if the answer is yes will we at the southern tip of Africa benefit for sure as the sun rises and sets we can be sure our government will find a way to generate billions through corruption.

Lockdowns are not going to stop the spread. Sure it may give a little respite to the brave medical staff for a week or two but what when the third or tsunami waves eventually hit? This virus is now part of our lives in the foreseeable future and so we should not be forced to stop living in case we die.

We must face it that Mother Earth has been forced into cleaning up what man has single handedly destroyed and no amount of praying to God, Allah, Buddha or whatever God is your preference, nothing can stop Mother Nature when she is in a bad mood.

Collo – A personal comment