Just a small step for some

LIghtning strikes

This year, 2020, has thrown most of us a curve ball. There are very few unaffected by the situation which has played out globally. Whether you believe the pandemic is real or not is immaterial, even the most ardent unbeliever has still felt the effects.

It poses a very specific question. If you had to lose everything today, rigth now, in one single moment, what would you do? Where would you turn, how would you deal with it?

Previously answers would have been the unemployment queue, welfare, family or friends, maybe even some charity organisations. This year … there are so many cracks and broken links in the system it serves as a very serious wake-up call.

Think about it, and think seriously. Younger people likely have a chance to move back home, to return to their parents. Older people might have a shot with siblings or maybe even good friends. All of these are fine in the short term, but what happens next?

Currently in South Africa there are some serious unemployment figures, and they are rising. What happens if you find yourself amongst that number? What plans do you have in place that can realistically carry yourself and your family for a year, two or maybe even three?

If you can’t afford your home, your car, your medical and insurance cover, where do you go, how do you feed and shelter your family? With so many of the few available resources out of capacity, it paints a pretty bleak picture for anyone who really stumbles. Part of the problem here is that many of the people in difficulty need just a little help to get from month to month until they can recover fully. They find themselves in trouble because an already ailing economy bundled with a global pandemic has pulled the rug from under their feet – temporarily.

Here is where one of our, as a country, greatest problems lie. We haven’t even realised it yet. The pandemic is having a serious economic effect that is impacting heavily on a sector of the population which will shoulder greater levels of the tax burden going forward (or would have).

I refer to those who show economic growth, albeit slow, but who claw their way up the ladder every year just a little more. Self-reliant and contributing to the economy and adding a little bit to the tax base each year. People in this situation do not have a great deal of reserve, so a hard knock would take them many years to recover.

Adding economically active people to the unemployed and state-dependent list is dire and saving these people will do far more than funding government aid programmes. The more of the small people that are affected, the greater the overall impact will be and the longer it will last.

British Proclamation annexing the South African Republic
The British proclamation announcing the annexation of the the South African Republic on September 1, 1900. This image and more information is on the Australian War Memorial site.

On a final note, it was on 3 September 1900 that the President of the South African Republic (Paul Kruger) issued a counter-proclamation to Britian’s proclamation annexing the republic and renaming of it to the Transvaal Colony. Britain’s proclamation was declared invalid by Kruger and the Republic refused to submit to British rule – this triggered the final stage of the Boer War, the guerilla conflict. The second Boer War started on 11 October 1899 and lasted until 31 May 1902 when it ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging which saw both the Republic and the Orange Free State become British colonies.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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