Johannesburg – We only have ourselves to blame.
This time last year, the Coronavirus was thousands of kilometres away in the city of Wuhan, China.
Only laboratory, healthcare and construction workers were required to wear masks.
It did not bother the ordinary Joe that the peripatetic virus was making its way to the rest of the globe. A year later, we have learnt a lot about the virus. Like a nyaope addict, we know that Covid-19 is scared of water.
A 20-second rinse with soap throttles the life of the virus. A face mask keeps it at bay and so does minimising human contact. But no sooner had the government eased lockdown restrictions than people went back to their old ways.
This is not the column I wanted to write at the beginning of the year. Until the second wave of Covid-19 resurgence hit, I was planning to regale you with Januworry recipes; like how to make cabbage taste like chicken. Alas, we start the year under alert level three of the lockdown.
Wearing a face mask in public is compulsory and failure to do so can lead to prosecution. The booze industry is once again contemplating job losses after the government closed breweries. Booze is once again banned and bootleggers are making a killing.
As if that was not enough, Eskom has once again plunged the country into the Dark Age as it started loadshedding this week.
Amid this gloom and doom, I am baffled why anyone is beating a beehive to come to this country. SA tops the list of virus infections on the continent after bridging the 1-million mark last month.
Our neighbouring countries are faring much better, but judging by what we’ve seen at our leaky borders this week, you’d think Mzansi was a safe haven. The borders remain clogged as the returnees struggle to enter this biologically contaminated country.
I mulled over the reasons why someone would leave their Zimbabwe abode, where the virus has killed less than 500 people for this apocalyptic space, where daily transmissions are in the five figures. That’s when I recalled that a gardener in SA earns more than a teacher in Bulawayo. Considering that the virus places a burden on livelihoods as well as health, it made sense then.
Basotho were also risking their lives to come to SA though their country barely has reportable Covid-19 deaths. I am reliably informed that the old-age grant in Lesotho is a mere R300 and is paid once every two months, less than even our Covid-19 grant of R350.
Those streaming into SA ignored the requirements to produce Covid certificates and took their chance to cross into our hotspots. I chuckled as Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi struggled to contain the melee at the borders. His government was warned about our leaky borders and they chose to stick their heads in the sand.
His predecessor ignored then Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s attempts to purge the city of illegal immigrants and now the chickens have come home to roost. I’m afraid 2021 will not bring any respite.
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