‘Don’t vax or Ramaphosa will stay on’

Thursday.

It’s been a rough week — brutal, if one is to be honest — wading my way, story by story, word by word, through the chest-deep pile of year-end copy that’s standing between me and a short period of freedom from slaving. 

I’ve been on autopilot for a while now; muscle memory has taken over from conscious thought. Survival now depends on production, on getting through what’s in front of me, on building up a rhythm and maintaining it until we’re through this.

Write.

Edit.

Send.

Repeat.

There’s neither time nor space for aesthetic sensibilities; over elaboration or generally hanging about; no latitude to ponder flow, pace or form. This is the zone where delivery is the only thing that really matters.

Write.

Edit.

Send.

Repeat.

Perhaps this is what footballers feel like, confronted by an impossible logjam of festive season fixtures that are waiting to be played, like it or not, between now and January — albeit with way less fun and with a millionth of the money involved — year in, year out, until they’re too old and broken to get paid to kick a ball in anger?

Or ANC staff members — at least every fifth December — as they square up for the week of mayhem, bad food, endless squabbles over accreditation, backstabbing and generally uncomradely behaviour from the comrades that comes with the party’s national elective conferences, knowing that the have no choice but to put their heads down and get through it.

Perhaps. 

I wonder if the governing party will have agreed on a vaccine mandate by the time its 55th national conference sits — and paid its staff — or will the comrades still be squabbling about it this time next year? 

It’s hard to imagine that Covid-19 will be over and done with, just because the ANC wants to confer, by next December, or that the debate over whether or not to make vaccination compulsory will have been concluded.

The ANC has been talking in parliament about amending the Constitution to allow for expropriating land without compensation for nearly 30 years and still hasn’t got it right, so I won’t hold my breath. 

The slow pace at which we legislate isn’t the only problem.

Some of the voices howling loudest against vaccination come from within the ANC’s ranks — Conman Carl is, as always, the most shrill — and have linked vaccination with giving President Cyril Ramaphosa a second term in office, so I don’t see Luthuli House security demanding vaccine passports along with conference credentials any time soon. 

Perhaps Ramaphosa should announce a halt to the vaccine programme at the next family meeting, now that he’s back from his West Africa tour. 

 I reckon it might have the desired effect.

Within seconds, the Zupta twins, Carlito and The Zindzi Mandela of Our Times will be all over the Twitterverse, spitting fire and demanding its immediate reinstatement, despite their current anti-vaxxer stance.

An hour later, former president Jacob Zuma would be online in a video, jivingly exhorting the faithful to demand their vaccine from White Monopoly Capital, From Stellensoch, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

By the end of the day, Carlito would be on the Luthuli House steps, all Pep cammos and mask and with Des Van Rooyen and a cohort of 17-year-old veterans in tow, pompously postulating promising an uprising if all and sundry are not vaccinated within 48 hours.

Problem solved.

I’m not fazed by the news that there’s a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine — a booster shot — waiting with my name on it. The truth is, I’ll take a booster shot every year — or every six months for that matter — if that’s what it takes to keep me alive. 

Some of the comrades — particularly in the public sector unions — have rejected compulsory vaccination and are already talking about boycotting institutions that deny access to the non-vaccinated. 

Staying away, until the state and the private sector bend to their will and allow them in.

Fair enough, but I’m not that convinced that the strategy will work. 

After all, the comrades will be boycotting venues which they will not be allowed to enter in the first place, because they aren’t vaccinated, so I don’t really understand what impact their proposed boycott will have.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense — but then again, neither does refusing to take a vaccine that can potentially save one’s life.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

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