We refer to this issue of the magazine as our ‘Lockdown issue’ and upfront I would like to thank all of my clients sincerely, whether you are participating in this issue or not, for the support during this period of uncertainty that has fundamentally changed the world we live in and, has left the entire world in a communal state of anxiety and fear. It is indeed challenging times for all of us and we all have different mechanisms of coping. Some of us are in more fortunate positions than others and in these times we have to be very sympathetic and endeavour to step up our commitment to helping others, but do the political figures really understand the realities out there?
We understand that many decisions have had to be made for us as individuals and nations, without the normal factual, historical or scientific information on hand to base these decisions on. There will be varying opinions on these decisions and the subsequent rules that have been put in place. The red tape and the fact that these sometimes senseless, arbitrary rules and regulations that have mainly been designed by bureaucrats serves as a frustration. A couple of my best are that you can by a TV decoder but you cannot buy the TV and up until now you can’t buy fridges, stoves and washing machines. Surely these electrical items are essential to most households that can afford them as they should keep you from visiting the shops and supermarkets often (less contact), help with your health (eating cooked meals) and your general hygiene (clean clothes), all essential to the stop of the spread of the virus?
In the main, I am sure most of these decisions made by most governments will be made with the well-being of the country’s citizens as the number one priority. Sadly, this certainly is not true for some of those in charge though and this whole virus epidemic has become a political tool that has led to the advancement of political agendas. In some cases it has become very evident that party politics are also playing out. We have likewise seen how the abuse of power has emerged. Fortunately we have seen many more acts of kindness and human generosity. Especially our healthcare workers who, despite being physically and emotionally drained, continue to want to be on the frontline.
The new normal, as it has been dubbed, is what we should all be planning for though. Yes there are many uncertainties and unknowns that we will still have to encounter but the fact is most of our old way of life will continue to be the same in the future. Yes, there could be restrictions and not as much freedom as we used to have. But we will all still have to eat and our lives will still be dominated by all things mechanical, electrical and many more. This is where our leaders must recognise that we have an opportunity to revive what was an ailing economy before we went into this lockdown. The evidence is there in the way local companies have adapted to manufacturing many products associated with the epidemic, without having to rely on cheap, inferior quality Chinese products.
We have all learnt to adapt and we will still have to find solutions to many obstacles in the future. Time will tell if this pandemic will be categorised as the worst period in our life time. However, let this be the beginning of a real proudly South African manufactured period. Let us all begin to support local businesses – whether they are black, white, brown or pink-owned – and get this country into a position where it deserves to be.