Let’s summarise the current situation. South Africa is at Level 2 of the lockdown that has been in place since the end of March. We started at Level 5 and have worked our way down to the second-last level – but who knows how long that will be kept in place.
There’s a global pandemic on the go and we’ve been wearing masks for months, but that’s not even the real news about what’s happening here.
International headlines screamed about Cape Town running out of water some time back – but hardly anyone is blinking an eye about the fact that in parts of Port Elizabeth there have been intermittent water shortages, and the last four days there’s been no water.
On a national level, the entire country is still taking turns with using electricity – and it is predicted to get worse. A whole country that has to turn off the power for as much as four-and-a-half hours at a time every day.
Coming back to Port Elizabeth, people are cutting grass at the municipal sites because council doesn’t have contracts in place. The city council also doesn’t have a contract in place for the supply of chemicals to treat the drinking water, and the little that is left is running out fast.
On a suburb level, residents in my area are collaborating to walk around at night and place stickers on the lamppoles of those lights which aren’t working – in the hopes that the relevant department will fix them.
There was another beach cleanup recently, again led by citizens.
Through all of this, the PE council has announced increases in rates to residents of 6% – way above the current inflation rate.
Across the board there is a litany of government failures making headlines daily, at every level. There is hardly a shining light to be found anywhere within official circles. No, if you want to find the good in South Africa, you need to look at the people of the country, the ordinary folk.
People are helping people, helping each other and helping themselves. Potholes, services, health and food are all on the list as is shelter, clothing and items like blankets. It might look, at first glance, like South Africa is in a total mess but it isn’t. Government and everything related to the government is an utter shambles, but the people are doing just fine.
On a final note, the next chapter in the James Bond franchise is due in the last third of November this year. A new trailer has just made its way online, so Bond fans here’s your chance to sneak a peek between re-runs of your old favourites. Personally, I’m still a Connery Bond fan and that era produced the best adventures.