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Dallas

How Is Everybody Coping?

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Hey all, I must apologise for not being all that active on FZ these past few weeks. 

 

I have been trying to get a "Plan B" going to try and get some web development work - did some "blending of a new WordPress site and my billing software on WHMCS. Have a look at www.dallasdahms.net to see how that has panned out. 

 

Things are not looking very good here in South Africa and as I had predicted when this CV19 thing first broke into the country, we are facing more of a challenge with the authorities than just trying to keep people uninfected. There are things going on in government right now that are very, very worrying indeed. It seems that we are under some new kind of totalitarian government here who are acting unconstitutionally in the way they are imposing themselves on our lives and livelihoods. Lots of questions are being asked, but sadly not many answers are forthcoming. It's very depressing. :( 

 

I hope that wherever you are you are keeping safe and that your families are not affected by the pandemic. I don't personally know of anybody who has had it, even though they closed down a private hospital barely a kilometre from my home at the start of the outbreak because a number of staff tested positive and some patients died. It was re-opened today (thankfully). 

 

 

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Here in Brazil we have a surreal situation.

Our "president" is reluctant to follow the government rules for the pandemic. How crazy is that. There is not one single day that he does not take some irresponsible action, like supporting rallies to avoid the lockdown! He even replaced the Health Minister in the middle of this crisis because the guy was becoming too important and was in favor of the social contact reduction.

I thought the number of cases curve would begin to go down this month, but it is increasing day after day.

I normally work 2 weeks offshore, but last time I stayed 3 weeks on board.

Now, after staying 3 weeks in quarentine at home, my company put me in another week of quarentine in a hotel now, having meals in the room. If my test is negative, I'll go offshore for 4 weeks now. 

Difficult times, but I can't complain because there is a lot more people in worse situation.


Aguinaldo

www.aguinaldodepaula.com

Nikon / Zeiss

"You are not a loser when you're defeated.
You are a loser when you quit".
(Dr. House)

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I don't allow talk about politics here, but it is almost impossible to discuss the pandemic without it getting political. 

 

My view? Unfortunately the evil in men is coming to the fore and many of them in many governments are taking advantage of this peculiar situation to advance political agendas that suit themselves. In our situation we have been banned from going out since 27 March, unless it is to buy food or get medical treatment (or if you are working in what government decides is an "essential" role). They also banned the sale of alcohol and tobacco products because they feel that this will lead to more domestic violence. In addition they banned ALL eCommerce. 

 

We were told that it would be a 3 week lockdown to give the health care sector enough time to prepare themselves for the "wave of infections that would require hospitalisation". We accepted this. Two weeks later they told us that they had to extend the lockdown by another 2 weeks. At that time SA had less than 3000 cases of covid19 and about 50 people had died. Just before the end of April they announced a slight relaxation of the lockdown allowing us 3 hours between 6-9am in which to go out for exercise (strictly alone). Some other businesses were allowed to re-open but aren't allowed to sell everything. So you can go into your favourite clothing store and buy some clothing but you can't buy other things because they are not deemed to be "essential" by this new government "command centre". You still can't buy cigarettes or alcohol. Legally. You can't check up on family in person and would you believe this... they have also arrested some NGO's for distributing food parcels to the needy because they don't have permission to do so. 

 

Honestly, as I said in the other coronavirus thread, this situation is untenable in this country and very soon things are going to reach the point where the government will not be able to control the masses of starving people. They literally have no idea how much harm they are causing with this draconian shutdown. Have a look at this video clip below of people lining up in just one of the many townships where nobody is allowed to work to support themselves. 

 

 

The official opposition party to the government released this video a couple of days ago. The points made by the leader pretty much sum up what many of us are feeling about this, myself included. What is especially offensive about the situation is that any white-owned businesses in the tourism sector are not entitled to any government aid. It will only go to black-owned businesses. 

 

 

Personally I believe it is every individual's responsibility to look after their own health given that they know what to do to protect themselves from this thing. You can't shut down the economy of a country the way it is being done here. It is far more dangerous than the virus itself. That first video should be evidence enough of the reality of not being able to work. 

 

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Covid-19 on the African Continent is nowhere near its peak.

I fear there will be hundreds of thousands of deaths there, unless quarantining measures are rigorously implemented.

As I said some weeks ago, every government must strike a balance between loss of life and loss of economic progress. This balance will be influenced by economic, financial, social and cultural factors.

To put the question at its most brutal, how many lives lost are worth the avoidance of 1 percent of GDP contraction?

 

Answers on a postcard, please ...

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Both Australia and New Zealand have the advantage of being island nations, so isolation was relatively easy to obtain by simply closing off all means of travel in and out of the country outside of some very specific cases. I don't think this is political comment, either - it is news on a Global scale, and comment on whatever politicians do isn't really political commentary, rather it's newsworthy with regards to being clever about dealing with the pandemic, or just mind-numbingly stupid, both of which have been in evidence in different parts of the world.

 

New Zealand went straight into an immediate stage 4 lockdown which was extended to six weeks; yesterday their Prime Minister announced the timetable for a staged withdrawal of restrictions over the next few weeks as their rate of infections was halted almost in its tracks by the population co-operating and suffering the short term pain for a long-term gain.

 

Australia was a bit slower off the mark with a more right-wing government initially following a predictable "economy first" resistance before buckling under public pressure to actually do something about the rising rate of infections, a large percentage of which originated from returning cruise ship passengers and botched handling of disembarking passengers simply being turned loose to fly home all over the country. Australia then went into a stage 3 lockdown with some further restrictions added, and here in Tasmania the State's borders were closed (by the conservative government) unless arrivals submitted to a compulsory 14 day quarantine in a State supplied hotel room close to their arrival point by being immediately bussed there on arrival.

 

There was recently an outbreak of a few dozen cases centred around a couple of north-west Tasmanian hospitals (involving passengers from those disease-incubating cruise ships), but there have now been no new Covid-19 cases for four straight days here so announcements of the easing of some lock-down restrictions have been made. As all arrivals into this State are by sea or air, the borders remaining closed into the foreseeable future will hopefully keep infections at, or at least close to, zero for the oncoming winter.

 

Except for a few mutterings of dissent, by and large the population in Tasmania has taken the "short, sharp hit" approach on the chin and hopefully most restrictions will be lifted by September, provided public co-operation (particularly involving social distancing) is maintained. Intra-regional travel will probably be the last restriction lifted before the State's border closures are lifted, though - yesterday that restriction on travel was lifted from "essential medical and food" reasons only to allow exercise in public parks and reserves within 30km of home address, and visitation restrictions and some non-essential shops were also allowed to open on a semi-restricted basis.

 

I guess this result is because while the politicians formulated the rules, it was ultimately achieved because the population co-operated even though things might have appeared somewhat draconian initially. The threat of a $1,680 on-the-spot fine if caught breaking the lockdown rules may well have had quite a bit to do with this co-operation, though. :D :D 

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9 hours ago, vivionm said:

Covid-19 on the African Continent is nowhere near its peak.

I fear there will be hundreds of thousands of deaths there, unless quarantining measures are rigorously implemented.

 

The balance to be struck here is going to have to depend on the healthy being sensible and returning to work as soon as possible.

 

The sad fact is that yes, if the medical experts are to be believed many people here will die of covid19, but it makes no sense at all for the entire healthy population to be quarantined and the economy weakened to the point where we all die of starvation and crime related violence. South Africa, having been looted to the point of bankruptcy by the Jacob Zuma administration, cannot afford to take its foot off the gas right now. Even the former finance minister of the country is saying the same thing https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-05-11-trevor-manuels-call-to-stand-up-for-your-rights-in-lockdown-set-to-trigger-a-chain-reaction/ - the government here is doing everything wrong. But that is what we have come to expect of them since 2009.

 

Anyway, the purpose of my post was to find out how you all are doing. I can live without going out, but at the moment I am finding it very difficult to pay my bills if nobody has any money to spend with me. Fortunately my wife is still working so we have food to eat, but unless something changes in the next week I will have to find another place to live. I already owe a month’s rent to the landlord. :( I have a buyer for my 12-100mm lens that will rectify that, but alas I am not allowed to ship it to him because it is currently illegal to do so. 

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37 minutes ago, Dallas said:

the entire healthy population to be quarantined and the economy weakened to the point where we all die of starvation and crime related violence.

No one is suggesting that.

A little calm and perspective goes a long way.

My question remains: how many lives is one percent of GDP worth?

To answer your question, I am doing well, after eight weeks in self-isolation during which time I met not a single human being face to face. And during which time my eldest daughter was infected with the virus, was extremely ill for a period, but survived. Several people I know did not survive.

Here, we entered Phase Two yesterday with some relaxation of the restrictions, so I saw my grandson and my daughter which was wonderful.

A case can be made for landlords to take some of the financial pain by granting rent rebates or payment postponement. That is being done in many European countries - partly because renters got together and simply refused to pay..

 

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3 hours ago, vivionm said:

My question remains: how many lives is one percent of GDP worth?

 

I am not great at macro-economics but the media "experts" say that the economy here has already contracted by 6% and if they are to be believed there will be a 20% contraction by year end should the current situation remain in force for even one more month. I think it will be much worse than that. Everybody I know is affected in at least some way economically. As I said above, of more concern to everybody is what the government is doing that doesn't need to be done. Killing eCommerce and introducing 1920's prohibition is the thinking of dimwits. I feel that there is a more sinister agenda, particularly on the political side w.r.t. the DA led Western Cape province. The figures we are seeing don't make any sense and can only be attributed to politicking (the Western Cape is the only province that the ANC does not control). 

 

On a personal level I am very fortunate in that I have an excellent relationship with my landlords, having lived here for over 12 years already. However, me not paying a full rental affects their personal income too. They still have to pay the property taxes. I have managed to pay at least 50% since lockdown started, but this is the last month I can do that. If I don't get some money in by the end of the month I will have to ask them very nicely for more lenience. I'm sure this can only go so far. 

 

It's really very difficult and I am one of those who is not in as sticky a situation as most other debt heavy people I know. I don't owe any money on cars and my credit card debt is negligible. I managed to reduce my short term insurance premium by 50% simply by removing all my camera equipment and business insurance. I have an excellent broker who also negotiated a discount from the underwriters that got back-dated so I didn't have to pay anything this month. Fotozones is in a good position for at least a few more months, thanks to the kindness of its members and subscribers. 

 

4 hours ago, vivionm said:

Here, we entered Phase Two yesterday with some relaxation of the restrictions, so I saw my grandson and my daughter which was wonderful.

 

That's wonderful news. The human cost of this isolation is far more than just a loss of life. I truly feel for those who suffer from depression. This must be the darkest of times for them. :( 

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9 minutes ago, Dallas said:

the media "experts" say that the economy here has already contracted by 6% and if they are to be believed there will be a 20% contraction by year end should the current situation remain in force for even one more month

Beware of media "experts".

As far as I am concerned, the only credible sources are the WHO (on the health aspects) and the OECD (on the economic aspects).

Everything else is just fluff.

 

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Oh, in other news I have used this break to reach out to persons I have had issues with in the past and made amends with them. That has felt wonderful. Life is too short for silly grudges. 

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I think my answer will,be “so far so good”

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Mike Gorman

 

Nikon Z7 - Nikkor Z 14-30, 24-70, 35, 50, 85, FTZ adapter 

GX8 - Panasonic 20, 25

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In the Netherlands we are fortunate to have capable politicians who are advised by excellent medical experts. The number of hospital admissions and fatalities due to Covid is declining so it seems the worst is over thanks to the strict lockdown measures. As a result of this some measures are lifted. It is noticeable people are getting increasingly impatient so the government is trying to strike a balance between what's necessary and what the people are willing to accept and comply with. 

 

Focus is shifting from the medical aspect to the economical damage which is enormous but for a rich country like ours shouldn't pose a long term problem. If the Dutch government loans the extra money needed to support businesses and workforce (an estimated 90 billion Euro) they don't even have to pay interest they get payed because of our excellent credit rating. Talking about differences between nations ...

 

On a personal level I still work from home and don't have to travel (three hours a day, by public transport) to the office. If possible I'd like to continue work from home as long as possible. So far the inconveniences for my personal life are minor compared to what other people have to put up with. I feel very lucky about that and wish those less fortunate all the best in coping with this extraordinary situation.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Luc de Schepper said:

In the Netherlands we are fortunate to have capable politicians who are advised by excellent medical experts. The number of hospital admissions and fatalities due to Covid is declining so it seems the worst is over thanks to the strict lockdown measures. As a result of this some measures are lifted. It is noticeable people are getting increasingly impatient so the government is trying to strike a balance between what's necessary and what the people are willing to accept and comply with. 

 

Focus is shifting from the medical aspect to the economical damage which is enormous but for a rich country like ours shouldn't pose a long term problem. If the Dutch government loans the extra money needed to support businesses and workforce (an estimated 90 billion Euro) they don't even have to pay interest they get payed because of our excellent credit rating. Talking about differences between nations ...

 

On a personal level I still work from home and don't have to travel (three hours a day, by public transport) to the office. If possible I'd like to continue work from home as long as possible. So far the inconveniences for my personal life are minor compared to what other people have to put up with. I feel very lucky about that and wish those less fortunate all the best in coping with this extraordinary situation.

 

 

 

The Netherlands is one of the worst in the world per capita.  The UK is even worse.  It is striking how badly Western Europe has managed. Of course, national comparisons are difficult, because each country categorises deaths in its own way.  It will be years before we fully understand why things have happened in the way they have. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

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7 hours ago, Anthony said:

 

The Netherlands is one of the worst in the world per capita.  The UK is even worse.  It is striking how badly Western Europe has managed. Of course, national comparisons are difficult, because each country categorises deaths in its own way.  It will be years before we fully understand why things have happened in the way they have. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

 

Those figures do not appear to constitute a crisis in my view. What’s even more interesting is that I have been hearing that actual transmission may be higher than is currently believed to be the case, since many people being tested are showing presence of covid19 antibodies but they never exhibited any symptoms. That means the mortality rate is even lower if they are calculating it based on the number of known infections. 

 

It’s no wonder the conspiracy theorists are out in full force. What the hell is actually going on? There’s a part of me that has a hunch about global warming being a possibe root cause of the need for a global lockdown. The weather events we have seen in the past couple of years certainly point to urgent and drastic action required as far as reducing emissions goes. What better way to achieve this than what we are currently experiencing? 

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8 hours ago, Anthony said:

 

The Netherlands is one of the worst in the world per capita.  The UK is even worse.  It is striking how badly Western Europe has managed. Of course, national comparisons are difficult, because each country categorises deaths in its own way.  It will be years before we fully understand why things have happened in the way they have. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/

It must be remembered that the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in the EU. This must be a factor in the relatively high level of infections there.

As for the UK, the big strategic weakness is that widespread testing and contact tracing are not being done, so that insufficient data are available on which to base decisions.

41 minutes ago, Dallas said:

Those figures do not appear to constitute a crisis in my view.

As I have said, the assessment of the correct balance between loss of life and economic disruption (and emergency public expenditure) will vary from country to country. My personal view is is that we ARE in a crisis.

It is fortunate that triple-A rated countries can borrow at zero interest right now. I predict that much of this Covid-related debt will ultimately be written off or rolled over forever, since most of it is owed to central banks.

 

41 minutes ago, Dallas said:

It’s no wonder the conspiracy theorists are out in full force. What the hell is actually going on?

The nut jobs are best ignored. There is no conspiracy. The countries of the world are completely incapable of orchestrating such a thing while keeping it secret. International cooperation is improving, but it is nowhere near that efficient.

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3 hours ago, vivionm said:

The countries of the world are completely incapable of orchestrating such a thing while keeping it secret.

 

If there is an ulterior motive behind this, all the forces driving it would have to do to obtain a certain action from world governments is use the media to manipulate a situation and apply pressure on leaders to react to something in a way that helps them further their cause. I think we can agree that media manipulation is a real thing. It's been driving wars for over a century. 

 

It's about designing outcomes. As long as the narrative is driven in a way that gets the manipulator what they want the truth is irrelevant. Story of mankind...

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3 hours ago, vivionm said:

It must be remembered that the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in the EU. This must be a factor in the relatively high level of infections there.

As for the UK, the big strategic weakness is that widespread testing and contact tracing are not being done, so that insufficient data are available on which to base decisions.

As I have said, the assessment of the correct balance between loss of life and economic disruption (and emergency public expenditure) will vary from country to country. My personal view is is that we ARE in a crisis.

It is fortunate that triple-A rated countries can borrow at zero interest right now. I predict that much of this Covid-related debt will ultimately be written off or rolled over forever, since most of it is owed to central banks.

 

The nut jobs are best ignored. There is no conspiracy. The countries of the world are completely incapable of orchestrating such a thing while keeping it secret. International cooperation is improving, but it is nowhere near that efficient.

 

It is more complicated than that. Simply comparing national population densities is misleading, because in many countries there are large areas with few or no inhabitants. A more useful comparison is lived density, discussed here https://theconversation.com/think-your-country-is-crowded-these-maps-reveal-the-truth-about-population-density-across-europe-90345

 

It is also necessary to look at the extent of international contacts. London and New York have done badly, but they are probably the two most internationally connected major cities in the world. Demographics are also relevant. Minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately hit, and the UK has a very high percentage of these. In Sweden, which has not had a lockdown, the worst results have been in immigrant communities. Obesity is also a factor, and the UK has far too many obese people. And in the UK deaths peaked on 8 April, far too soon for the lockdown to have had an impact on stopping the rise. The UK has suffered in part because of its centralised bureaucratic healthcare system which did not take advantage of the private sector in the way that Germany did. 

 

What is clear that is Western Europe has not done well, that mistakes have been made, and that there are many factors to take into account,

 

 

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There are also cultural behaviour factors to consider when looking at this contagion. I recall reading an interesting insight about why Italy was so badly affected and it was suggested that because Italians are very affectionate people, always kissing and touching when coming into contact with family and friends, the spread of the virus was a lot easier than in more conservatively behaving societies. Combine that with the age demographics and a picture emerges. 

 

We are still not seeing enough segmentation in the cases to draw a thorough picture though. I'm sure they have the data, they're just not making it public because that would be counter-productive to whatever the agenda is. In the army we used to call it "Mushroom syndrome". Keep us in the dark and feed us shit... 

 

All I know is that things here where I live are reaching a fever pitch. More ministerial idiocy cannot possibly exist anywhere else in the world. It's beyond human comprehension what they are doing. 

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1 hour ago, Dallas said:

I'm sure they have the data, they're just not making it public because that would be counter-productive to whatever the agenda is. In the army we used to call it "Mushroom syndrome". Keep us in the dark and feed us shit... 

Oh for goodness sake. Enough paranoia already!

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17 minutes ago, vivionm said:

Oh for goodness sake. Enough paranoia already!

 

You're not living through what we are living through in South Africa right now, Vivion. We have every reason to believe that there is something other than a virus at play. I could post some links to mainline news articles but you'd think they were stale April fools jokes. 

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29 minutes ago, Dallas said:

RS epidemicYou're not living through what we are living through in South Africa right now

 

No, I am not. So what?

 

All the data are readily available to anyone who cares to look, including data on the rates of infection, fatality and recovery in all the countries of the world, together with comparative analysis of the precautionary and mitigating measures taken in the various countries. All on the WHO website. So please, do not try to tell me that "they" are withholding data from us.

 

Health epidemics happen. Nothing else is "at play".

 

The recurrent plagues in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, the misnamed Spanish Flu of 1918, the SARS epidemic, the Ebola epidemic and the HIV epidemic are good examples. They were not manipulated media concoctions. THEY HAPPENED in real life, to real people.

 

OH DEAR! WHAT HAVE I SAID? The men in the black helicopters, financed by the Trilateral Commission, are coming to get me. I will be carried off to Area 51, where my brain will be transplanted into a descendant of the aliens who crash-landed there in 1947 ...

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3 hours ago, Anthony said:

 

 

It is more complicated than that. Simply comparing national population densities is misleading, because in many countries there are large areas with few or no inhabitants. A more useful comparison is lived density, discussed here https://theconversation.com/think-your-country-is-crowded-these-maps-reveal-the-truth-about-population-density-across-europe-90345

 

It is also necessary to look at the extent of international contacts. London and New York have done badly, but they are probably the two most internationally connected major cities in the world. Demographics are also relevant. Minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately hit, and the UK has a very high percentage of these. In Sweden, which has not had a lockdown, the worst results have been in immigrant communities. Obesity is also a factor, and the UK has far too many obese people. And in the UK deaths peaked on 8 April, far too soon for the lockdown to have had an impact on stopping the rise. The UK has suffered in part because of its centralised bureaucratic healthcare system which did not take advantage of the private sector in the way that Germany did. 

 

What is clear that is Western Europe has not done well, that mistakes have been made, and that there are many factors to take into account,

 

 

At last, a truth-based comment. Alan, Anthony and Atpaula have also commented sensibly.

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Vivion, I am not disputing that there is a health issue. I am suggesting that it is being blown out of proportion and from a South African perspective it is now being used to advance an agenda that is perhaps not aligned with movements to stop the spread of the virus (which let's be honest is kind of like farting against thunder - it's going to spread no matter what). 

 

Try and explain the logic behind this latest regulation on what we are allowed to buy from clothing stores and how it prevents the spread of Covid19:

 

https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/lockdown-level-4-heres-a-list-of-clothing-bedding-and-footwear-you-can-now-buy-47877801

 

And this reaction from government when two senior advocates write to the President asking for an explanation on how decisions are being made in SA:

 

https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/unwarranted-personal-attacks-from-presidency-shuts-down-debate-on-nccc-craig-watt-pringle-20200513

 

Then there is the ongoing drama about why we are now in a 1920's prohibition state where the sale of alcohol and tobacco products is a crime. This story might make a beer lover weep:

 

https://www.businessinsider.co.za/sab-gets-permission-to-move-beer-but-still-has-to-dump-some-of-it-2020-5

 

The political thing that is playing out at the moment is that the media are reporting that more than half of the cases of covid19 are being found in the Western Cape, the only province out of 9 that the ANC does not govern. It smacks of politicking because it gives the central government "ammunition" to use agains their political opposition in this province. They have been tryig to get rid of the Democratic Alliance in WC province since they lost it to them some 3 elections ago. They hate that this is the only province that actually works and where corruption cannot gain a foothold. 

 

Anyway, I do still own the right to have opinions and if anyone chooses to have a different one to mine I won't think any less of them for doing so. :) 

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I have not commented on the situation in  South Africa. Nor will I.

I do not agree that

3 minutes ago, Dallas said:

movements to stop the spread of the virus (which let's be honest is kind of like farting against thunder - it's going to spread no matter what). 

 

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