Whoever switches off the lights should run the vaccine roll-out


It’s Day 321 of the Covid-19 national lockdown, which has, we are told, been extended till 15 March following a meeting of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet.

No surprises there. 

The second wave of the deadly virus is still with us. A third is likely to hit us in a couple of months’ time. Our vaccine rollout still hasn’t reached the needle-in-arms stage, courtesy of the concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine doses secured by the government for the first round of immunisation of frontline workers. The million or so doses that arrived with so much pomp and fanfare last week may or may not be a dud and are set to expire in April. 

No real surprises there either. 

Buying stuff online is risky. What you see, and pay for, is not necessarily what you get. Buying drugs on the internet — whether it be cannabis, magic mushrooms or vaccines designed to stop the spread of a deadly virus — is no different. 

That gram of The Duchess you paid R180 for can very easily turn out to be R5/gram Swazi, all seeds and stems and headache, by the time it lands, if you’ve chosen the wrong site. Those long-awaited Golden Teachers can, when unwrapped after the courier guy finally arrives, quite easily turn out to be Denny’s finest. How more so the national purchase of 1.5-million doses of potentially life-saving vaccine?

These are drug dealers, after all.

Ramaphosa can’t be too pleased, especially after he posed for the cameras on the runway in the rain, all grins and minder-held umbrellas, “reading” the manifest on the pallet of vaccines, while the shooters clicked away.

What did he expect the manifest to say? Dud vaccines inside? Expiring medicines, use real quick? 


I’m writing this on the eve of the current head of state’s State of the Nation address, to be delivered, thankfully, in hybrid form, with a hundreds of thousands price tag, rather than the millions traditionally forked out for the fashion parade and afterparties for the lahnees. 

The president needs to make this the standard for the Sona going forward: forget the annual spending spree, bury it.

We’re broke, after all.

I’m sitting in the dark courtesy of the pre-Sona stage-three load-shedding — called, I assume, to save up enough power to keep the lights on nationwide for two hours on Thursday evening — eating half-cooked boerewors and waiting, miserably and impatiently, for the lights to come back on so I can get back to work. 

At least the pap and imfino was cooked by the time the lights went out. 

Perhaps my situation, annoying as it is, is a fair representation of where we’re at as a nation, philosophically as well as physically, the night before the president is about to lay down his programme for getting us out of the hole we find ourselves in. A hole dug, at least in part, by his comrades, some of whom just sat in the cabinet meeting that decided to extend the lockdown.

Sitting in the dark, our lives brought to a halt, through no fault of our own, making do with what we’ve managed to salvage, while waiting for the state to get its act together, so we can get back to work and continue to pay the salaries of those who have left us in the dark.


At least the Eskom cat who turns the power off was as efficient as always, killing the feed at precisely 8pm. Not 7.59pm. Not 8.01pm.


Perhaps the most efficient employee in all of our state-owned entities — in the entire public service for that matter — should be re-deployed as our chief vaccine procurement officer? 

No more missed deadlines.

No more roll-out delays.

No more flops.

Perhaps we weren’t scammed and the potentially dud vaccines are the result of the anti-vaxxing prayers hammered out by our soon-to-be former chief justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, during one of the more recent abuses of the platforms provided by the public office he occupies.

Divine intervention.

A message from above.

Perhaps Mogoeng Mogoeng’s impassioned call for a bolt of lightning to stop the Devil’s Serum from being pumped into our veins actually worked. Struck Bill Gates’s microchipped meds down.


The online faithful already appear to believe Mogoeng’s prayer has done the job, so our man’s run at the presidency of the country come 2024 may have got a bit of a boost, before he even declares it.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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