Sunday 30 August 2020

SOS – Steve on Sunday

Good Day my fellow lawbreakers,

Are you a law breaker? You think not?

Since 26th March this year when the lockdown was forced upon us here in South Africa there have been myriad rules and regulations introduced pertaining to the Chines* Viru*. They have all been gazetted and therefore became law whether we liked it or not. You could approach the courts of law should you not be happy, which is what Cyril advised often.

I certainly broke the law at various times. Here is what I did and you must also check to see if perhaps, merely a perhaps, you too became a criminal.

That first 35 days when everyone was in fear of the unknown we were all fairly responsible citizens and the majority of us were indeed law abiding. Except me of course. I managed to make essential shopping a daily event just to get my newspapers so carried an empty water container in case I was stopped at the oh so many road blocks that were all over the place. The men and women in blue even brought in crafty tactics in an attempt to catch the few ‘criminals’ driving around or perhaps even having a party at their homes. I dodged them all I am delighted to say.

I think we all knew, somehow, that the 35 days of lockdown would be extended. Despite this, many did not stock up on alcohol nor cigarettes beyond the 35 days, so were caught pretty much unaware upon extension. And further extension with levels worsened what stock you had as well as your nervous system.

The law was yet again broken by yours truly when I purchased ‘banned’ cigarettes and even later in the lockdown, the illegal cigarettes from the many traders virtually doing business over the counter. By supporting these illegal traders that made me a criminal. I am a non-smoker so this was for family. Aiding and abetting.

My tendencies to being an anarchist got worse.

I certainly travelled more than five kilometres from my home to walk around in the veld and see animals other than those that live near me in the complex. More than once. Breaking the law! I went even further afield and purchased alcohol and then had the audacity to smuggle it back into Kimberley. Sure, the travelling and smuggling was done on the back gravel roads where there were no roadblocks, but nevertheless it was against the law.

What a naughty boy! It does get worse I am sorry to inform the four readers of this column/blog/blurb/waffle.

I organised a getaway to a nearby battlefield for a few friends. Sadly for me and law breaking, it was more than five kilometres away from my home and was in fact in the neighbouring Free State province. Again, back roads were taken, and a good day was enjoyed by all. Laws broken. Another law broken this particular day was that the group having fun in the sun was more than the allocated numbers allowed for the gathering. We were not a funeral so could not (legally) go to the 50 persons allowed for such. Had to stick to the law of 2 persons or 5 or whatever it was, not that that was adhered to.

And not too many were wearing masks, and social distancing was certainly not in place. More laws damaged…

Who would have thought that this goodie two shoes would actually go and break the different laws on so many occasions.

Before you think that I and my fellow law breakers were being disrespectful and arrogant, the plague did not exist in the Northern Cape, and in Kimberley that first few months there were only five cases. Some towns, particularly on the west coast of the Northern Cape province, did not have any cases until the middle of the so many variations of Level 3, this after about 100 days of lockdown.

This plague has only peaked in Kimberley these last few weeks and there have been deaths including that of several persons known to me. One person, who is still alive, did tell all and sundry that this viru* that originated from Chin* is a hoax and a load of rubbish. It may well be, but apart from himself not being too well at this stage from this same illness, both his very elderly parents now have the plague as do his children and the staff at his business. He never wore a mask but his business sold them and made a pretty penny too. He now wears a mask.

Many others now do too, but there are also many who do not.

Wearing a mask is probably the only law I have not yet broken. Been quite good at that!! Many citizens I note, and especially at supermarkets, carry the mask in their pocket and only place it in the correct position before entering the shop.

Another law I have not broken is that of the curfew, and the only reason for that is that I am in bed fast asleep several hours before the 9pm deadline. The deadline is now extended to 10pm which means I have been in bed for three hours. And at 4am when the curfew is relaxed I am busy tapping away at the keyboard.

Yet another law not broken is that I have not done any tours, mainly because everything in and around Kimberley that attracts tourists is still closed – the museums, the battlefields, the everything. Except bars and restaurants. The bars and restaurants are open but I am not visiting them just yet for a few reasons, one of which is that I still have to finish my once upon a time illicit stock of alcohol. Lots still to go there…

Tourists are also non-existent, but now that provincial borders may be crossed, there are some internal travelers. But no destination yet open, not even the famed Big Hole.

And yet another law I broke quite regularly, was the transportation of alcohol in my vehicle. Sweat would break out when I heard the clinking of glass upon glass.

Sure, I am not a murderous type of criminal, but nevertheless I am a criminal because of the breaking of laws that had been gazetted.

Did I feel bad about being a criminal. Nope, not at all.

Why not?

Because I did not consider several of the laws to be about controlling the plague, but being more about controlling the people and telling them what they can and cannot do. I think the moment when I became a serious serial offender was when those strange people in ‘command’ started to tell us what clothes and goods we can buy. What is essential and what is not. I mean, not being allowed to buy summer clothes because it is now winter is getting really ridiculous.

And I can buy certain clothes but cannot buy hooks to hang them on. Hello?

This is a story that could carry on forever. Will be a boring book should someone write one…

I shall end shortly, never fear. You know us criminals love being in the limelight. (Where does that word come from? What does lime have to do with light? Goodness.)

I know that I was going to do a blurb about tourism but am still waiting for replies from the local ‘authorities’ in regard to certain matters. There is no rush there remembering that they in government or quasi government are still getting their monthly salaries whereas the tourism industry who actually pay their salaries are not getting any money. All tourist destinations in Kimberley are still closed as I have already mentioned. They may open in September. They may not. I need another drink…

When I know what is going on, or not going on, I shall place a story in words that we can all understand.

In the meantime, have a good week, wear your mask, and like me, obey all laws introduced as they are there to protect you from I have no idea what any more. Or any less.

Please note that I am now a reformed criminal and no longer participate in the booze running, crossing province borders, or purchasing items not considered essential. And why not?

Because it is now legal and that is the law. And doing something that is legal is not at all exciting.

I thank you.


By Editor

4 thoughts on “SOS – Steve On Sunday”
  1. As a lawyer, this subject matter is close to my heart and I thank you for illustrating the game so nicely in your letter. Back when I was studying law in Rhodesia, I thought laws were drafted by very clever people (“VCP”) who understood the needs of society and drafted carefully to meet those needs. I have since discovered that the VCPs of this world are generally engaged in making lots of money and care little bureaucracy. The drafting is done by non-VCPs serving parochial interests, generally poorly. The issue with promulgating rafts of ill considered (see how I avoided nasty words like cretinous?) is that law breaking is made inevitable – it is objectively impossible not to break the law. Law breaking is like losing your virginity, once on the other side of that barrier, its SO much easier to do it again, and again. I am new(-ish) as a reader, soyou mmay be up to 5. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you so much for your regular lively letter.

    I really enjoy it.

    One day I will tell you a funny story of me going to the De Beers AGM in Kimberley to the consternation of Messrs Oppenheimer and Relly. I was managing director of an Anglo and AECI subsiduary.

    Till then please carry on.

  3. Are you shedding readers Steve?
    I thought we were up to at least 7 not so long ago….

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