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Decuplets miss family meeting


The mid-week public holiday to commemorate the 16 June 1976 uprising means that there’s no work today.

It doesn’t mean a lie-in, though, so I’ve still been up for a couple of hours by the time the sun rises.  

Waking up this early is automatic now, just like breathing, or wearing a mask in public and keeping distance from other human beings.

It’s something that one has learned to adapt to since last March, when the president first locked us down.

As a result, I’m already at the beach by the time the sun comes up.

Holiday or not, it’s going to be a while before the punters roll out of bed and trundle down the hill, so it makes sense to take in the sunrise here, then head home before the place fills up.

While I still can.

Like many of my fellow South Africans, I was a little disappointed that the commander-in-chief didn’t address the 10 babies saga on Tuesday night. I’d hoped for a live broadcast from the maternity ward — the lahnee all green scrubs and masked grin — while cradling Klein Piet, or Pietertjie, or Pietra, in a presidential paw.

I was genuinely upset that the prez didn’t give us an update on whether the five twins actually exist, given that their father is now denying that they were even born and they appear to have disappeared.

After all, the country has been seized with the whole 10 babies thing, rather than why the government is “privatising” SAA by giving it to a company allegedly set up with funds from the Public Investment Corporation.

As a nation we are saddened by the fact that the 10 babies appear, at this stage, to be just another con story; a fabrication; a bunch of lies foisted on us by the intersection of an overactive imagination and a lack of basic journalism; at worst a cynical, desperate attempt at generating clicks by any means necessary.

Right now, it’s looking increasingly like the 10 babies do, in fact, constitute a rogue unit.

Or that, at the very least, those responsible for the “story” have themselves gone rogue.

Either way, an end to the entire mess, although unlikely, would be welcome.

I wasn’t surprised by the head of state’s decision to call Tuesday night’s family meeting, even if I did feel let down.

The daily escalation in the number of infections — and deaths — didn’t really leave Cyril Ramaphosa with any other option but to move us to level three of lockdown regulations.

There’s still not much of a vaccination programme going on, so all he could really do was restrict the liquor supply; put a lower cap on numbers at churches, pubs and the like.

Send us to bed an hour earlier and hope for the best.

The third wave is already peaking in Gauteng, with infection numbers worse than in the first or second wave. It’s only a matter of time till the rest of the country follows suit. 

Hopefully, the new restrictions will be enough and we will be able to ride out the third wave at level three of lockdown; avoid a move to heavier lockdown restrictions; a further loss of jobs; livelihoods.


It’s not likely though.

School holidays are almost upon us, so a further spike in infections is coming.

So is the campaign for the October local government elections, which, as of now, are still going ahead. 

Voter registration is about to kick off in earnest. The political parties are all at various stages of their internal candidate-selection processes. The ANC in particular has issues to deal with — beyond the drama generated by its step-aside resolution. The governing party is facing wall-to-wall branch general meetings and regional conferences between now and August. The move to level three and 50 inside, 100 outside means most of these processes can’t happen. A move to level two — or even augmented level three — will mean further restrictions to movement. None of localised rallies, door-to-door campaigns and motorised cavalcades that are part of elections as we know them will be able to take place.

Perhaps the Electoral Commission of South Africa will come up with a hybrid solution and we will go to the polls in a different fashion in October. 

Perhaps it won’t and we will push ahead with the poll, infections and body count be damned.

Perhaps the election will be canned; put off until we’ve gotten sufficient needles in arms to allow some semblance of normal life to be restored.


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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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