SOUTH AFRICA is going to wake up to a whole new world
on Friday when the lockdown effectively kicks in and will have to endure that
for the next three weeks.
It will be a world of abnormality, restricted movements, shopping at certain times, of no taxis, no buses, no trains no street food and no travel from one part of township to another with no particular purpose.
Even funerals to bid our loved ones are not going to be a normal affair. Only 50 people will be permitted to attend.
Ministers responsible for state security laid out on Wednesday night how the lockdown measures necessitated by the Coronavirus will be implemented and it sounded like the country is going to war, only the enemy is visible and is not known.
No airplanes will be flying over our skies and all borders will be closed and only cargo will be flown in or allowed through the border gates. Even the cargo, especially from high-risk countries, will have to be sanitized and the crew delivering it will not be allowed to disembark either the plane or the ship.
But is it the movement of people in the country that is giving ministers or the government a headache, and for that it has been decided that even alcohol will not be on sale.
“Before (the lockdown) we were saying you can buy alcohol at certain times. Now we are saying you can’t buy alcohol at all. There will be no sale of liquor in bars, in restaurants, bottle stores, taverns and shebeens,” said thought talking Police Minister Bheki Cele.
And for good measure, there will be no movement of liquor either and if you are found with alcohol in the boot of your car, that’s six months in jail or a fine.
And to limit movements of people there will be roadblocks outside communities and residential areas, provincial and national roads to be manned by police, traffic, soldiers and health department officials who will be screening particularly essential services workers.
You will need a reason and somewhat prove why you are on the road otherwise ministers encourage people to be on the road.
“This will ensure that the movement of people and vehicles is kept to a maximum, except the transportation of essential goods or services which include fire and medical emergencies.
“With the subsequent deployment of SANDF, we will be increasing visibility and conduct integrated foot patrols, roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints as of 23h59 on Thursday 26 March 2020,” as he issued a stern warning for people to stay put.
Also, police and soldiers will be patrolling the streets and Defense and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said President Cyril Ramaphosa will provide details on the deployment of soldiers when he is expected to address the nation on Thursday evening hours before the lockdown.
She also assured the nation that rumors about how soldiers were going to skop and donner residents during the lockdown were not true, saying they were trained to observe the human rights of the nation.
“Lockdown is not about power, use of excessive power, but it is to protect people,” said the defense minister.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula assured citizens that there will be taxis for them to go do their shopping but it was not going to business as usual. Taxis will only be operated from 5 am to 9 am and again from 4 pm to 8 pm.
“From 8 pm we don’t expect much movement and it will be a complete shutdown. It’s not going to be normal. We will not have a situation where you want to go and buy where you want.
“We are not going to have shops open where you can buy clothes. If you want to buy food, do it where you live. But we can’t have people taking an Uber to go and have a party with friends. Buy at your mall or spaza shop if you want to buy,” he said.
Perhaps Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma put it in a motherly way in her appeal:” It’s a sacrifice no doubt but we have to do it for the love of our nation and humanity.”