From the beginning of the lock down, life was never the same due to rules and regulations regulating the movement of people and all other activities that were normal parts of life. Cigarettes and alcohol sale were stopped then when lock down was eased from level 5 to where we are now the sale of alcohol was eased to 4 days a week with restrictions but cigarettes sales were not eased. Although cigarettes sale is not eased or lifted people are still smoking cigarettes buying them wherever they can find them. One loose cigarette costs different prices depending on the brand but for some people there will always be a way to get the cigarettes. Some are making tea bags as substitutes for cigarettes. A tea bag is torn to put the loose tea on a Rizla just as is done with Marijuana as people try to satisfy their cravings.
By Rapule Moiloa
Alcohol may be banned and people not allowed to buy but this does not affect everyone. It was announced that alcohol will be banned with immediate effect as of Sunday the 13th of July 2020. For many people, this announcement was just blowing hot air because the announcement is not for everyone though it is supposed to apply to all people. Regardless of liquor stores closed people still find their way of getting alcohol and socialize. Alcohol ban is meant to flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus. Someone said that no matter how strict are the rules and regulations it does not matter because people will always make a plan to get alcohol and meet whenever they want. Even if taverns are closed there will always be a way either to make home brewed beer, punch etc. Alcohol is not the only thing that brings people together, street gambling like playing dice also contribute for people coming together.
A young boy aged 15 in grade 10 said that his educational program is affected by something he does not know. He said, ” I am very scared because more people are dying because form COVID- 19, I am scared to go to school when people are dying and a time where learners in other provinces have tested positive of the virus and as a high school student I’m worried that I am going to repeat the same grade. What makes me even more scared is that i must go back to school not knowing what to expect and i heard that already there are reports that two schools in Diepkloof have learners who have tested positive. A relative of mine is going to one of the schools and his friend in another i am not sure if I must go to school I am afraid.”
Meanwhile, safety is something that is on peoples minds since the outbreak of COVID-19 and no one wants to risk their lives and their loved ones. The Taxi industry in Joburg are making sure to sanitize and write the names of passengers, contact details to allow for contact tracing as a means of helping in curbing the spread of the pandemic. Taxi drivers are at the fore front of ensuring the mobility of citizens across the country. The Taxi industry is part of the essential services no matter how much problems the industry is facing.
By Mmabore Mogashoa
I went to one fast food outlet and I realized the risk of handling money during the pandemic. People use money in shops, public transport etc. Social distancing was maintained, temperature checked and sanitized. When paying the cashier used a tray to collect money and issue change. I realized that some just continue eating the food without washing their hands. In public transport if you are at the back you give the next person money until it reaches to the driver. There is no sanitization after handling money. With this kind of risk, there should be a better way of doing business so that consumers do not end up infected when getting change. We send our children to the shops, markets etc and no one wash/ sanitize hands before and after handling money. People who are selling in the street are also at risk as most of them do not wear cloves. Is there a way to keep money away from germs and viruses? Will the only way to solve the problem be to go digital?
Anonymous in Lesotho Leribe Maputsoe
When lock down was announced due to corona virus Lesotho citizens living and working in South Africa were faced with a problem of getting their ARVs. Health institutions in South Africa refuse to assist them with medication and asked them to ask Lesotho Health Institutions to send proof that they are HIV and AIDS patients before giving them ARVs. That’s when Basotho decided to risk their lives by crossing the river running below Ficksburg and Fourisburg borders because they can’t go through border gates as they still closed due to lock down. Yes it is illegal to cross through the river but this started when clinics where they reside refused to give them Medication because they say they can’t wait for border gates to be opened for they need to refill and the only way to refill is to cross the river to get at least 3 months supply.
by Rapule Soweto in Vusimuzi Tembisa Ekurhuleni
On the first of June 2020 the sale of alcohol started with a bang when many people were happy for being allowed to buy alcohol for the first time after many days of ban. Many people had planned to have birthday celebrations before South Africa had its first case of the virus then lock down was declared. Many people could not celebrate their birthdays despite having planned them earlier. This was worsened by the banning of the selling of alcohol and people were allowed only to consume at home unfortunately that was not a case because people. The past weekend saw many people celebrating their belated birthdays and others were celebrating their birthdays as from the 01-06-2020 and if alcohol sale continues this will see an increase of the virus cases as people are now socializing more than before.
by Rapule Moiloa
Talking to someone close to me about the work that he does as a Porter, he expressed his worry about his exposure to the virus. He works at a certain hospital as a porter in Soweto and he is equally exposed to the virus just like nurses and doctors. He is worried by the fact that many people forget that people who work as porters are also in the frontline and are exposed to the virus for they are the ones receiving patients regardless of the nature of their sickness. The work environment has also changed tremendously due to COVID- 19 because previously they would receive patients with out fear of contracting any disease. Although they are given Protective gear, wheel chairs and stretchers are not disinfected increasing their vulnerability to the deadly virus.
by Rapule Moiloa in Tembisa
Many of the people in Tembisa believe in making money through selling cooked food. Their market place is out side shopping complexes, taxi ranks etc. What is worrying now is that they defy lockdown rules and regulations but only remember them when they clash with the law enforcement agents. I witnessed men cooking and selling mogodu just out side a shopping complex attracting many customers at once but with no safety measures in place. I have heard that Ekurhuleni is one of the metros with many cases of the virus that makes it a hot spot of the pandemic but I have realsied that people only put on masks so that they are allowed into the mall but remove them as soon as they leave the complex.
Meanwhile, it is worrying how those who are entrusted with distribution food parcels are helping themselves first before the people who are in really in need of the food. This is despite that fact that we are in a situation where many people have lost their livelihoods and can nolonger afford to fend themselves and their families. In Vusimuzi, the community registered to get food parcels that were donated and list of names were used to for the people who registered to get food parcels.
On another note, these days the SAPS department has been in the fore front ensuring that citizens adhere to rules and regulations of the lock down. Before entry at the Tembisa police station, officers scan people to check their temperature and the officers record each person’s temperature and they have implemented a no mask no entry principle at the premises whilst enforcing social distancing. I’ve witnessed the same at Spar Supermarket although they do note check temperature but the principle of no mask no entry is enforced.
By Mmabore Mogashoa
On the 12th of May 2020, I went to Jane Furse in Sekhukhune in South Africa. When I entered one of the shops they checked body temperature, sanitized people’s hands and only those with masks were allowed in. This shows how businesses are ensuring the health and safety of customers and employees. What worries me the most is people who move around the streets without masks. From GaMogashoa to Jane Furse you meet people with no masks and some sitting and enjoying drinks. People should know that it is our responsibility to safeguard our health and it is no time to take COVID-19 for granted. When I got home, I also found children playing and what suprised me is that they used tissues and plastic to make masks while playing. Nevertheless, if children can play and talk about COVID-19, why do adults find it difficult to wear masks.
The 6th of May was the last day of the SASSA pay outs.The roads were so packed and there was too much chaos due to people and traffic congestion. The scary part about this was that nobody seemed to be caring about the spread of COVID-19 as some of the people were not putting on masks and not following the 2 meter distancing. I am one of the concerned people about the Coronavirus lockdown going back to stage 5 as there are some people who thinks this pandemic we are faced with is a joke yet everyday we are updated about new cases and deaths caused by this virus.
Meanwhile, at Imbali Crossing there was a road block where all travelers were stopped and asked where they were going,what are they going to do there and were expected to produce permits. Most of the people were asked to go back because they didn’t have permits yet others did have permits and were told either that it’s not the ones they want or they are not specific enough and people who were going to collect Sassa pay outs had to issue their IDs and SASSA cards as proof. People who were going to purchase groceries and buy essentials were also told to go and get permits for that. My worry is where are we going to get permits to buy groceries?