FAKE NEWS FROM THE PRESIDENT

Hereunder the contents of an email sent to Caxton this morning 18 May 2020 subsequent to their publication of the president’s letter to the nation.

Dear Irma,

I have read your publication of our President’s address to the nation this morning. 

Following on your invitation to report the spread of fake news, I do trust that this applies to all and that no one is above the law and therefor I wish to point out the following fake news as stated by the president in his letter this morning, and I quote:

“Our foremost priority remains to save lives”.

This is a lie Ms Green. Scientific and medical sources, even from governments own Medical Advisory Council (who have been strongly reprimanded by Minister Mkhize for voicing their concerns to the media), and basically all other sources including the UN, only excluding the WHO, are unanimous in their opinion that our hard lock down is serving very little purpose and that lives lost from other causes (technically we have to forget about the suffering and hardship for the moment) as a result of the lock down, will far outnumber the lives saved. 

The above opinion is so widely and almost unanimously shared by experts that one cannot dismiss it as subjective or just an opinion. Numerous articles were published on this by very highly regarded scientific experts, local and international.

So, I would suggest that this is pointed out to the president in order for him to rescind and correct his statement on a suitable forum. The obvious truth is that deaths from other causes as a result of their lock down actions are of no concern to them.

Why this would be so, one can only speculate on.

Kind regards and looking forward to hear from you.

Simon van Deventer

PAINTED INTO A CORNER

I almost choked on my food last night while reading that Minister Mhkize said to News24: “We are now doing something that has not been done anywhere, lifting the lockdown in the presence of a rising rate of infections.”  This was in response to strong and increased criticism of the lock down from health professionals in his own Medical advisory panel. He further said:

“The World Health Organisation gave us a list of six criteria [for lifting lockdown restrictions] and no part of the country can actually tick them all and say they are positive.” The first two being: 

1. Disease transmission is under control.

2. Health systems are able to “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact.

My dear Minister Mhkize, I have been jumping up and down from right at the start of the lock down, writing three letters to the president, pointing out that the lock down is unsustainable and totally inappropriate from a timing and cost vs benefit point of view. I warned that you are painting yourself into a corner from where you will not know how to get out, that you are impoverishing the people and destroying the economy while attaining very little. Your excuse of buying time to prepare the health care facilities was bought by almost the whole country but was meritless as the nature of any exponential increase is that it takes time for the numbers to reach a “proper status” coming from such a low base as we indeed had. You might as well have locked down last year. The point I am making is that you had time anyway. Medical facilities, private and state, are totally under utilised, even now. At almost R15bn a day cost to the country and no income for most of the poor, it was a poorly judged, heartless and very irresponsible decision. 

If the lock down was declared in a state of panic because not much data was available at the time, I do understand it. But since about 10 days after the declaration a lot more data came available bringing about a clearer perspective making it possible to review the lock down decision.

Yet you feel comforted in the praise you receive from the WHO. This while people queue shoulder to shoulder for kilometers to get food parcels. Do you know that your beloved Director –General of the WHO, Mr Tedros Adhanom, also praised Robert Mugabe for his commitment to public health in October 2017, to the extent that he awarded him the title of “Goodwill Ambassador” of the WHO? (He had to subsequently withdraw this as a result of  criticism and pressure). 

You also feel comforted in the fact that other developed countries also locked down. But no, you should not fool yourself by feeling comforted by this. If some sort of lock down was indeed appropriate, then ours was as mentioned way too early and secondly our economy was in a very poor state already with a sky high unemployment rate, high debt levels and disastrous economic policies. Yet, we afforded ourselves the “luxury” of a lock down without considering the consequences. 

Minister Mkhize, are you honestly of the opinion that we should remain in our current state of lock down until the WHO’s two criteria above are met? Surely not. And Minister Mkhize, how is it possible that you did not contemplate this exact scenario we are in now, having an unsustainable destructive lock down while the number of infections are picking up momentum? Surely this was the only logical outcome you must have foreseen? You surely are a clever man, being a medical doctor. Please tell us what you were thinking. (When I talk about “you”, I actually refer to the so called Covid-19 Command Council and the leaderless government.) Do not blame the Corona Virus for you finding yourself now between the devil and the deep blue sea and no place to move. It is entirely of your own making.

The whores of an unscrupulous government

THE WHORES OF AN UNSCRUPOLOUS GOVERNMENT

I am asking the question to every person in the police force, SANDF, local and provincial law enforcement agencies and department of so called “justice” officials: 

How can any person with any integrity and even just a remote sense of morality and sound values allow him or herself to be an instrument of enforcement of unconstitutional, illegal and inhumane laws for this power hungry, control obsessed, militaristic, arrogant, incompetent, corrupt, criminal ridden and heartless government of ours? If the answer would be: “But we are dependent on our salary to make ends meet”. Then I say to you: “So should the woman from the families that you keep from earning a living then become whores in order to feed themselves and their families, like you effectively do?”

By acting out the ridiculous, irrational and destructive laws of government you are aligning yourselves with them. You are their whores. If you had any integrity or self respect, you would have resigned and joined the rest of the jobless in South Africa, waiting for a UIF payout or a R350pm grant. 

Should you not have the mental or moral ability to discern for yourself whether your government is acting in the interest of the people, then just ask yourself the question why the government has deployed 76000 members from the army during a time of “peace” to enforce their views of what is according to them in the best interest of the people onto them.

The enforcement of the often evil and sick personal ideologies and agendas of a single dictatorial ruler or government by a police force or army acting as robotic, unquestioning and mindless instruments upon millions of suffering people must surely be one of the most shameful acts of humanity.

But maybe everything is not so unfair in a way… Maybe this is actually what the majority of South Africans deserve, because they voted for the ANC. They placed their confidence in a corrupt, criminal friendly party who supported and held the corrupt Jacob Zuma in the highest office, thereby saying: ”This is the best person from our ranks we have to offer to lead this country. Our values are mirrored in this man”. If he was the best from amongst you all, and the majority of South Africa’s people indeed supported it, and now you have chosen the dictatorial Minister Dlamini Zuma to lay down the rules of how people should behave and what they are allowed to do and what not, then I say, you deserve exactly what you are getting.

If the ANC had any respect for the wisdom, intelligence and responsible behaviour of their voters, they would have known that a lock down was unnecessary, but of course they knew that those qualities are completely foreign to the majority of the people of South Africa, otherwise they, the ANC, would not have been in power.

I can only pray that the blind majority of the people of South Africa grow into seeing the light before the next election.

Simon van Deventer

17 May 2020

SAVE SOUTH AFRICA

SAVE SOUTH AFRICA

“If a law is unjust, man is not only right to disobey it, he is morally obligated to do it.”  Thomas Jefferson

Section 9 of chapter 3 of our constitution states: “Every person shall have the right to life. “ Surely life means more than just being technically not dead?

Section 11(1) states: “Every person shall have the right to freedom and security of the person…”

Section 11(2) states: “No person shall be subject to torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional…” We are indeed tortured, physically by being deprived of food, directly or indirectly, and mentally and emotionally, especially those who live in 3 x 3m shacks.

Section 18 states: “Every person shall have the right to freedom of movement anywhere within the national territory.”

Section 24 (c) states: “Every person shall have the right to be furnished with reasons in writing for administrative action which affects any of his or her rights or interests unless the reasons for such action have been made public.” I have heard no explanations how golfing, surfing, running, cycling (unless it’s between 6 and 9am, it is dangerous), etc as well as smoking (surely Min Dlamini Zuma’s explanation cannot be taken as serious!) to name but a few, will spread the virus. 

Section 26 states: “Every person shall have the right freely to engage in economic activity and to pursue a livelihood anywhere in national territory.”

Section 34 states: “The rights entrenched in this chapter may be suspended only in consequence of the declaration of a state of emergency, and only to the extent necessary to restore peace or order. “ Thus it has no application in a situation like this.

On 15 March government has in terms of the disaster management act of Section 3 of 2002 declared a national state of disaster. In terms of section 27(3) of this act government is allowed to make regulations or issue directions only to the extent that it is necessary for the purposes of:

(a) assisting and protecting the public;

(b) providing relief to the public

(c) protecting property

(d) preventing or combating disruption; or

(e) dealing with the destructive and other effects of the disaster.

Let us examine the merits and thus legality of the laws proclaimed and regulations issued in terms of the above specific parameters which it needs to comply with:

(a) “Assisting and protecting the public”: Let us first focus on “assisting”. Government is “assisting” the public by prohibiting them from earning a living, by inducing a depression that will make the 1929 depression look like a Sunday school picnic, by prohibiting the public from leaving their 3 x 3m shacks in order to go to work and make a living etc etc. They were so kind to call up 76000 SANDF troops to assist in this help to the public. Reason given was to deliver water etc. Enough said about assisting. Let’s talk about “protecting”, protecting us from what? Consider some background:

“Protecting” us from a virus, a world pandemic, that has killed 004% of the world population, compared to the normal annual 0,1% from respiratory diseases, that is 1,3% of deaths from normal respiratory diseases, proportionately adjusted for the time we have had Corona with us, in other words apples compared with apples.  On top of that, take into account any patient dying having been diagnosed with the virus are recorded as dying from the virus. In Italy for instance, 99% of fatalities have had at least one serious pre-morbidity. Half had three or more. Only 12 % of deaths were related directly to Corvid-19. After 47 days of lock down, costing this country about R700bn, we have had 206 deaths, equal to the amount of people being murdered in 3,5 days. I am asking: protecting us against what??!! Why does a life ended by murder is irrelevant compared to a life ended with Covid-19 that was very likely to end in the very near term anyway? Deaths related to Covid-19 for under 50-year olds amount to 1,5% and 4,1% of total Covid deaths for under 60-year olds. This basically makes up the entire work force and or over 91% of the population, yet we are shutting down the whole economy and starving the vast majority of people for a perceived risk that does not practically affect them at all! The average age of our population in this country is 27, for which statistics indicate a practically zero fatality rate, which means most of the infected people will not have any idea that they are or were infected with this so called deadly virus. And the government want us to believe that they are protecting us!!?? 

I can bombard this argument with tons of pages of overwhelming evidence, but I do believe that very view people still need convincing of the ridiculousness of  government’s reaction to this so called pandemic.

(b) “Providing relief to the public”. I am at a loss for words here. Where do I begin? Millions are starving. If it was not for good hearted individuals and the private sector donating food for the masses, this country would have been up in flames already. It is only the good people of this country who are saving the government from the inevitable consequences of their irresponsible and reckless behaviour and in the process postponing ultimate and total chaos. The only crisis we need relief from is the one instigated and enforced by government.

(c) “Protecting property”. Depriving the masses from income and food will surely result in widespread chaos on several fronts including burning and looting of private and government (actually people’s) property.  Consider that as at 30 April 962 schools have been looted and burnt down. Thus again, the opposite is being achieved here.

(d) “Preventing or combating disruption”. I cannot think of anything more disrupting than the lock down regime.

(e) “Dealing with the destructive and other effects of the disaster”. Again the only disaster is clearly the one that government created by their own actions. Covid-19 is entirely dwarfed by the socio-economic crisis created by government.

Not only do the lock down laws not comply with the above criteria, but they almost throughout actually create and cause what they were designed to protect us from. In fact, they comply totally with the definition of crimes against humanity. The effects were and are devastating and would have been even much more severe were it not for so many private individuals and organisations who donated food and saved the government from actually being confronted with the full consequences of your unscrupulous actions. On top of this so many laws and directives are totally illogical and ridiculous as there is no link between those and containing the spread of the virus.

South Africa’s only scientist Nobel prize winner, 73 year old prof Michael Levitt who is heading up Stanford University Medicine’s Structural Biology department, a world leader in the molecular and structural understanding of biology, says our lock down is the very worst of possible options. Even our so called Command council’s pro lock down Prof Karim, has now been saying for the past three weeks our lock down has served its purpose and does not serve any positive purpose anymore. Yet the silence from government is deafening.

In my opinion the State of disaster is not warranted and legally does not comply with the conditions as clearly set out in our constitution, thus making the laws and directives illegal. Government’s actions must stand the test of amongst others, consistency and transparency. Questions like the out of proportion reaction and continuation of current Covid measures but ignoring and being totally complacent about the 60 murders per day in SA begs for a rational and satisfactory answer. Do not expect your citizens to buy your start of every speech “the lock down is indeed very necessary to contain the spread of the virus” anymore when the other deaths receive relatively no attention.  

The recourse of administrative justice offered to South Africa’s citizens in terms of section 24 of chapter 3 of the constitution does not provide any practical recourse for the masses as the costs of the legal system makes it an area reserved for organised politics, commerce and industry, and the state. It is a dream far removed from the society it was intended to protect. I addition, dozens of attempts have been made to challenge the merits of your lock down strategy, but to no avail.

It is clear that the people of South Africa have had enough. It is also clear, considering the facts, that there is a hidden and sinister agenda from government that is very far removed from serving the people of this country. South Africans want to responsibly normalise their lives as much as possible and start making a living for themselves, restoring their dignity as also provided for in the constitution in section 10 of chapter 3.

Mr President, you have forsaken the people of South Africa. Your one third salary reduction taken as a show of “solidarity” with the people of South Africa, still leaving almost R170 000 per month on the table in addition to the billions that you made from your own party’s BEE legislation, makes me vomit when I see the hardship and desperation around me. You are being held accountable for this. Do not think you will find protection from the praise you are receiving from the WHO for they will be exposed too. Supporting your lock down while people stand in a four km long queue four people next to each other for most of the way points to what they actually are and what they will still be exposed for. What we see around us (and this is only the beginning because this ship has a lot of momentum and will not easily be turned around) is a humanitarian disaster.

Mr President, you had the support and goodwill of a very large part of this nation when you took over the presidency. You have squandered it, abused it, trampled on it and destroyed it. 

You are giving us as peace loving and dedicated citizens of this country no choice but to take control back of our own lives and livelihood as from 18 May 2020. We will open businesses wherever we can do it in a responsible, but non-paranoiac way. We will report for work and demand that businesses, golf clubs etc which have not been bankrupted yet, open without delay. We do not want to stand for hours and days in queues anymore waiting for food parcels to be distributed but then never arrive or wait upon kind hearted souls for food but who are then stopped because they don’t have a permit. We will transport farm produce and other items like normal and will not be intimidated by your Chinese trained militaristic law enforcement officials. We will go for walks, exercise, surf and swim where and when we feel like it because we need to build our health and immune system again.  We will go about all in a responsible way. We will take responsibility and decide ourselves who is really at risk and behave commensurately. We will at all times act respectfully and responsibly towards people around us. We do not say this to please you Mr President. We say this because we are responsible people who will build a wonderful prosperous and safe country if we can rid ourselves of your toxic and power obsessed corrupt government. We cannot be victimized by your reckless and irresponsible actions anymore which are clearly dictated by party in-fighting and political power plays.

We choose not to defer death for the imminent few to the extent that we make life unlivable for the rest. We love all our people, including the sick and the elderly and we will care for them and ourselves to the best of our ability. We choose to bear that responsibility ourselves. We are not your children Mr President and we will not tolerate you treating us as such anymore.

We point out that this is not a petition where we ask you to consider our request. The time is past for that. You are reckless in your fiduciary duty of governing this country responsibly and with accountability to the people of South Africa for who you are in service to. We are informing you that we are claiming back our constitutional rights, our freedom.

On behalf of all the peace loving but very concerned citizens who have the best interests of this beautiful country as well as themselves at heart; we are claiming back our freedom as from Monday 18 May.

Simon van Deventer

12 May 2020

ABUSE OF POWER

ABUSE OF POWER

Corruption is the abuse of one’s position to enrich oneself. Cyril Ramaphosa does not need more money. He has lots of it, lots. Money does not incentivise him anymore. So guess what comes after that, power, ego. At the start of the lock down, he has called up 2280 troops from the SANDF to help the police to enforce the lock down he announced. Last night he has called up another 73180 troops to enforce his will onto the poor, hungry, defenseless and desperate people. The defense force is funded by the people to be there for their protection. Now it is turned against them. Now the armed is deployed against the defenseless. This is as despicable as one kicking a defenseless dog (or actually shooting one, like a member of the defense force did about a week ago because the dog barked at him, all caught on film. I saw it.)

This is abuse of power, to put it in very, very mild terms. This is serving nothing but his own ego, his own personal obsession to enforce his will upon the people. This is nothing else than corruption. This is nothing else than a perpetuation of the Zuma era in another form. I was full of hope for this country when CR took over the presidency. It seems I was totally naive. If it’s not the sick obsession with money, it’s the sick obsession with power.

A president acting in the best interest of his people is loved by his people. He does not need security guards to protect him, and he definitely does not need an army to enforce his will onto his people. This is nothing else but civil war, except that there are no shots fired because the people are unarmed and the government has the total might of the country’s armed forces behind it. So the army is there to enforce the lock down and to keep peace.

Let me tell you something about peace mr president. Keeping or maintaining peace under circumstances undermining peaceful coexistence does not exist. Nowhere and never in documented history did it exist. This is because the ideology that peace can ever be reached by negotiation, signing of agreements, war or in your case, suppression by force, is a fallacy. It is deceptive. Any government who has ever claimed to have accomplished peace by such means, has later woken up to the reality that all that was accomplished was a temporary enforced state of submission. All that is attained by such means is people living in quiet desperation and a subdued state of passive aggression until they find another way to vent their anger.

This will come and bite you in the back side at the next election at the very latest mr president, and it will not serve the agenda or interest of you, me, or anyone who has the best interest of this beautiful country with its special people at heart. 

You have been warned.

Simon van Deventer.

22 April 2020

THE IMMENSE PRICE OF FEAR OF DEATH

THE IMMENSE PRICE OF FEAR OF DEATH

Greed and obsession with power and control has been the driving force of the wars in history of mankind, taking many tens of millions of lives in the process.

Fear of death by a few for a relatively few this time had an immense impact on the vast majority of the living and in many poorer countries has made life unbearable and even unlivable for millions. When will we be able to get to grips with and accept the fact that our bodies do not live forever, that we can only defer death? And that fighting and non acceptance of this truth is the most selfish and unloving thing to do to ourselves, our loved ones and our fellow human beings.

All over we hear about the devastating effects of Covid-19. This is not a true statement. Covid-19 itself has had very little effect on our world. It is our fearful response, our mass hysteria, also fueled by the media, that has created the chaos.  How can a disease with a mortality rate estimated at between 0,5% and 0,06% of infected people make the whole country come to a standstill? The average age of the South African population is only 27, which may make our fatality rate even lower. How is it possible that a disease with these statistics can bring an economy to a grinding halt, robbing millions of people from a way to earn a living? It makes no sense whatsoever. It is indeed not possible. It is only man who can orchestrate this. And it has become clear that for this government, fear has become the strongest emotion, the strongest force. Logic, clear and rational thinking, has been thrown out the door.

It is fear and irrational thinking of the government that is responsible for this. It is the fear of losing face because of statistics, of being accused of not acting responsibly, of not following the others who set an example. Statistics of people dying is the only thing they are scared of. Hungry people do not get recorded. And when the economy folds and anarchy comes, they will blame it on Covid-19. Easy, no problem, no risk. They just did what the rest of the world did. They will defend themselves by saying in a very stately manner, that they did not want to take any chances with people’s lives. And the people will believe them. They will think they did what was best for them. It is all to blame on Covid-19. 

The sooner we accept death of our bodies as part and parcel of the life cycle, the sooner we will learn to act calmly, sensibly and rationally in all situations, and in the process help create a beautiful life for ourselves and all those around us.

Simon van Deventer

Ps. A word on the media: The way they broadcast the relentless increase in the death toll is as if it can actually come down! Are they really expecting the dead to come alive again, and then sensationalise it if it doesn’t? What are they trying to accomplish with this? Why would they not present the numbers in a logical way, also breaking it down in age groups for purposes of a better understanding and perspective?

Questioning the purpose of government

QUESTIONING THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT

A government should be there to provide an orderly and optimal structure in which its people can function optimally. They have been elected to act in the utmost good faith towards and on behalf of its people. A government is in service to its people. 

Why is this then that one most of the time feels that the people and the government is in opposition to each other, that they are fighting each other? Because government is focused on wielding power over the people, instead of bringing out the best in them.

How long must our country’s citizens remain law abiding while the government of the day is pressing and rubbing their faces into the dirt, even deploying the army that was supposed to protect us, the people, against us?

I again read in the paper this morning: “Statistics will guide government in its decision about lock down.” This confirms 100% my writing about the “Delusions created by immeasurability”.  They arrogantly and with no shame state this, not even mentioning or recognizing the plight of the millions of desperate people out there. 

Let’s consider the following scenario: As the curve remains relatively flat, and the masses driven by hunger and a feeling  of “they have been forgotten” get more and more out of control, government feels the pressure and starts relaxing the lock down. Infections  will increase (also under a lock down scenario) because that is the reality of the virus, but also because of more testing. As the numbers increase out of governments comfort zone, they reintroduce a lock down again (and saying: “See, the lock down was the right strategy!”) At this point, it would be the last straw for many businesses who have been opening their doors again and being in a life and death struggle for survival.

This would be the end of South Africa as we know it. As I have said so many times before, government has lost touch with reality. It is like we as a country have been bitten by a slightly venomous (latest and very credible research indicates an estimated but actual fatality rate of 0,06%) snake, and they (the doctor/government) has cut off a main artery so we can bleed out the poison. We are dying from loss of blood!!

Again I say we are acting as if we can end the spread of the virus with this lock down. If that was possible, the current sacrifice might have been justified, but that is just not possible and even prof Karim, head advisor for the government on the Covid-19 issue, confirms this. Current strategy is prolonging and deferring the curve unrealistically which will eventually lead to an out of control steepening of the curve because the country would have become ungovernable on all levels, including its health care.

It is not Covid-19 that is destroying this country. It is government’s totally incompetent handling of this.

I will not repeat what I have said and written a dozen times before, but unless we take a realistic and pragmatic approach by accepting the reality of this virus, we will destroy this country totally. We cannot continue with the current non sustainable lock down strategy. If a lock down is justified for the current status and level of infections, it will just be the case more and more, and if the lock down is partially lifted, you can bet your life it will be a matter of time before government clamps (locks) down on us again when the numbers escalate, as it will of course. Their eyes need to be opened regarding the absurdity of their strategy. On top of this, it is my opinion that we could attain 90% efficiency with 10% of the cost. A lock down is an extreme measure to avoid an out of control steepening in the curve. We followed other countries far more advanced in their “curve” like sheep by also jumping on the lock down band wagon right in the beginning of our curve. Latest figures revealed 241 people in hospital in SA and 35 in ICU. Millions hungry and desperate, appearing nowhere in the statistics. But the whole country is in lock down! Zero cases in Plett where I live, but the whole town is in lock down! Thousands hungry and desperate, but appearing nowhere on the statistics. This is ridiculous! Thousands of people are being fed daily by good Samaritans, rescuing the government and the country from imploding. The only people who can possibly be supporting this are those who get their fat salaries paid by government each month and who feels a complete zero (I have a better term for this) for the plight of their fellow man. This is despicable.

We must accept Covid-19 is here and each one must LIVE prudently and responsibly as part of a semi-normal life as he or she deems fit. We have exhausted the extreme measure “luxury” of a lock down at a time when it was not needed at all. Time is up for it. 

We are bleeding to death. Do we just accept this?

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot unlearn the lies they have been taught to believe.

Simon van Deventer

21 April 2020

HEARTLESS GOVERNANCE

HEARTLESS GOVERNANCE

I have yet to see a suffering and hungry person in favour of the lock down. I also wonder how many infected people are in favour of the lock down, because they have the virus anyway and would likely like to see their families earn a living. I think it is fair to say the desperate people in this country at the moment forms the absolute vast majority. 

Yet it is an absolute minority making the choices for them, saying to them “No no, you are not that hungry. We are really concerned about you and our people’s health and safety and are acting in your own interest, because you do not know yourself what is good for you. Trust us, we know better. We want you to stay at home and “byt vas”. We are worried that you may get sick. Should you disagree and do not obey, we will have to arrest you though.

Yes, we know that there will likely also not be a job for you to go back to, but trust us, we are all in this together and the lock down is in your best interest. We need to flatten the curve. You can apply for UIF. Yes, they may take quite a few months to catch up with the overload of applications, but we are sure you are reasonable and will understand. Just be patient and bear with us please, as we have a very difficult job at the moment. In spite of working very hard, we have decided to sacrifice a third of our salaries for the next few months, that is about R85000 for me as the state president per month. This amount will go into a relief fund which will be used to buy food for the mmmh, say about 45 million destitude people like you. Surely this shows my commitment to you as my people who voted for me and put your trust in me. But again I must point out the the logistics with distribution is a bit clogged up and not always so easy to get to the people.

Something’s got to give. This is not sustainable. People should not be governed by wealthy heartless individuals who show no sign of connectedness with life in the townships and on the ground.

And yes, I do understand about figures, statistics, maths and logarithmic curves. I studied that. Therefor I know that deferring the curve by locking down was the most fatal mistake we could possibly make, especially because it is even more effective than the experts like Prof Karim expected. We are prolonging the inevitable onset of the virus. Yes, granted we needed some time to prepare, but could have slowed the spread with a media campaign on preventative measures.  Covid-19 will come of course. We cannot prevent that. And that is the point. A lockdown had to be kept back until the virus was much more wide spread. Then a lock down would have flattened the curve. We cannot afford a longer lock down than three weeks, four at the very most if critically needed. Now we have created massive poverty by having this lock down before the virus has properly spread.  When the time comes that we may need a lock down, we will not be able to afford it, and if the government declares it, the masses will ignore it because they will have no other choice.

Simon van Deventer

18 April 2020

THE ILLUSION CREATED BY IMMEASURABILITY

THE ILLUSION CREATED BY IMMEASURABILITY

Often when I drive behind a truck (with a notice: “No driving in the yellow lane”) driving in the middle of the road with an endless queue of cars behind it, I wonder by myself: How many more accidents are there because people get frustrated and impatient with a slow moving truck obstructing the road by not pulling off into the yellow lane, and then overtaking causing a head to head accident? Not pulling off into the yellow lane probably causes between fifty and a hundred more accidents I would guess, but it’s not measurable. When the police gets on the scene of a head to head accident they would not know that a truck not pulling off was actually the trigger leading to the accident, but if the truck driving in the yellow lane collided with a stationary vehicle, the cause would be obvious and thus become a statistic. That is the reason why we see that notice on the back of many trucks.

Statistics require measurability. Arguments need (does it?) statistics. Science needs measurability. What cannot be measured may be much more important than what can be measured. How does one measure love? So is love meaningless because it cannot be measured? How does one measure happiness, joy, sadness, pain, hunger? Are we living in a world where those things don’t matter because they cannot be measured? Do they play no part in decision making? Have we really gone that far down the road where these things don’t count anymore because they cannot be measured? In what kind of world are we living?

In the Covid-19 battle we hear everyday that decisions must be based on scientific data. So the welfare of our people, or the lack of it, hardships and hunger does not even come into play when making decisions about the lockdown because it cannot be measured. Have we then become a total heartless society? The internet is full of arguments about the merits of the lock down ito saving lives (actually deferring deaths) vs people dying of hunger because of the impact on the economy. The point is a life only becomes a statistic, and thus a point of argument when it ends, when the person dies. Death is only the point at which consciousness changes. What is far more important here on earth than death, is life, the quality of life, things like freedom, contentment, happiness, joy, having adequate  nutrition, feeling supported and of course love.

In a way, it is the same with ourselves. Death is a great teacher, but we only allow it in as a teacher when we are on our death bed. Only then we become aware of what was actually important in our lives. Only then do we get proper perspective. But then it is too late to reap any benefit from the lesson. When will we learn to get proper perspective in time so we can enjoy the fruits of the lessons from our death bed?

Is it possible that our president and his advisors really are so blind, so removed, so cold hearted, that they cannot feel the anxiety, desperation and hunger of the poor people of this country in their hearts and stomachs because it has not become a statistic yet?  Is it possible? 

Simon van Deventer 17 April 2020

The cost of disconnection and the price of fear

14 April 2020

THE COST OF DISCONNECTION and THE PRICE OF FEAR

Dear Mr President,

This is my third letter to you. I will just think aloud in this letter. Because chances that you, or any person in authority, will read it is probably close to zero. This is ironically also in a sense what this letter encapsulates. You have lost touch with what is happening on the ground. Even though this letter, like the previous two, is emailed to you and all your lieutenants,  the letter probably won’t reach you, just as the feeling of millions of empty stomachs won’t reach you either, nor will you feel the desperation of millions who voted for you. But I have to write this letter to you.

I have always respected you as an honourable person and leader who has the interest of the country largely at heart. I have certainly not always agreed with your decisions, but that is normal and I also knew and appreciated that there were lots of factors, issues and influences that I had no proper knowledge of. Problem is, your declaration of this archaic and inhumane lock down and especially your extension, has changed everything for me, and probably also for your voters who are not sitting pretty in secure government jobs with fat pay cheques every month. 

Last night I watched the presentation of mainly your health minister and prof Karim on TV. It certainly promoted respect for these two persons. Prof Karim certainly came forth as a very knowledgeable professional who is very much on top of this Covid-19 crisis, interpreting the figures with intelligence and also wisdom. But his recommendation that should the figures be above 90 new cases per day for the next few days, which it is now, then the lock down should be extended, speaks of a disconnection with what is happening on the ground. Yes sure, that may technically be the thing to do to flatten the so called curve. 

Problem is Mr President, we have only deferred the curve by shutting this country down when we should have advised people to live on the bare minimum and try to keep some money back for a possible worst case scenario. From government’s side we could do all we have done now ito preparing health services etc for a surge in sick people. Just as perspective I add here that according to the latest SA statistics on average 54 people die per day of influenza and pneumonia. Today, 14 April 27 people in total have died with Covid-19. How many of them might have died from flu anyway? But we have shut down the whole economy for this! Yes of course the numbers will increase, but that will happen anyway. We should have kept our recourses in reserve to flatten the curve, not to defer it. 

(Note for perspective: those people dying actually say for example from flu as they would likely have done before, but now being Covid-19 positive, are now all recorded as dying from Covid-19, not with it. On the other hand, not one person dying with/from AIDS, are recorded as such, but from flu or whatever the condition might have been. This is an interesting inconsistency and food for thought as the policies applied are totally opposite. It is as if the policy is to dramatise the effect and numbers of Covid-19 to the maximum and downplay HIV/AIDS to the minimum.)

Prof Karim has said himself that we will not be able to escape this virus, that when we lift the lock down, the numbers will increase again. We can thus lock ourselves down, but we cannot lock ourselves out. We will some time or another have to face this virus with a practical, livable and sustainable strategy. As I predicted (and we are not even at the end of the first three week period), we are seeing the first demonstrations of hungry and desperate people. 

Locking down the economy has been a very very expensive mistake, extending it was a fatal one. We desperately needed wages to be earned while our numbers were down. The “luxury” of a lock down was to be kept as an absolute emergency measure. 

Townships, where most of our people reside, cannot be locked down in practical or effective terms anyway. People living in townships are generally of a younger age looking for jobs in the cities and are thus at lower risk of showing serious symptoms than the older generation who tend to live more in their traditional rural areas.

It is my opinion that we could get around 80 or 90% of the efficiency of the current lock down ito slowing down the transfer rate of infection by imposing carefully considered laws ito economic and social cost vs benefits.

Africa and also South Africa’s population is much younger than that of Europe. Our children and working people under 60 comprise 90% of our population. Applying current available statistics regarding death rates for the different age groups with (from leaves a lot open to guesswork, though all reports are reported from) Covid-19, the likely deaths from this group amounts to a quarter of the total probable deaths. Why on earth then are we shutting down the whole economy, which is an unsustainable strategy anyway if we could focus our protection efforts on the elderly rather and keep those supporting them earning an income?

This brings me to another matter. Those in power and making the decisions are generally of an age group who are most at risk. I say no more as I do not like the implications of this and thus do not wish to speculate on this. I am not of a cynical or even skeptical mind and inclined to always see the best in others. It is  worth mentioning though as their decisions are plainly incomprehensible in the light of the obvious consequences.

Which brings me to the cost of disconnection and the price of fear. Fear causes one to act irrationally.  An initial knee jerk reaction instituting a lock down with the kind of archaic irrational laws could possibly be understood and excused as an initial measure to limit a possible and unknown catastrophe, but then maintaining it and even extending it! This does not only point to fear but also to disconnection, disconnection to ordinary people, especially to the people who make up the largest portion of the population. Indications and estimates point to about three million jobs lost as a direct consequence of the lock down and particularly its extension. Mr president, do you have any idea what this spells for this country? How can one ever justify making a decision that have this type of implication. How many deaths of elderly people does one need to defer in order to justify and balance the unspeakable hardship that your decision is bringing to so many people? I cannot even imagine that anyone sitting on millions, having a secure income each month (taking note of your one third sacrifice in salary, thank you) can be so removed from his people as to make a decision with these ramifications. No one except you and your high ranking government officials protected by security guards  will be safe anymore, as good citizens turn to criminal behaviour and criminals having a field day as law and order breaks down totally.

Do not for a minute tell me that you thought the UIF would put food on the table for the jobless masses. Government departments are notorious for their inefficiency and slow service. Applications made in January have met with no response, irrespective of the amount of follow ups. It will take a very long time for all the applications to be processed. And what about the massive informal sector? What is your response to a foodless person because of your shut down Mr President? Just be patient for a few weeks, or months, or years?

I once read: “If an honest man realises he is being taken, he will either cease being taken, or he will cease being honest”.

Because the hardship and hunger cannot be readily measured, it disappears on the political score board. It simply does not count, or it is a vague factor that may be considered.  Currently, it is like you have agreed to a deal to torture 90% of the population unnecessarily in order to buy a bit of time for some of the sick and elderly. I beg of you, for the sake of the lesser privileged, to let compassion for the masses and the overall good of everyone, start directing your decisions. Yes Mr President, every life is sacred for me too, but so is the gift and quality of living also. If we take the lid off the economy and focus our energy on the sick and elderly I think we can protect them much better than currently. 

Death is part of life and of course inevitable for each and everyone of us. We should not allow fear of death to make life unbearable and even unlivable for the rest. Over the last years the emphasis on global safety and security has increased more and more. “Safety first” has become a global slogan. I want to put a plea out there, a plea for “LIFE FIRST”. We have become so conscious of risks that we have compromised and throttled the quality of our lives more and more. We cannot allow ourselves to sacrifice the gift and wonder of life at the altar of deferring death at all cost. Death holds the power of being a recordable statistic. This gives it a supreme status above a compromised life quality, because the latter is much harder or not possible to quantify. Additionally, statistics about people dying from hunger or living under the breadline has lost its impact as it has become part of the “normal”. Death statistics are used by and against politicians, so this is what their focus is on. Government should realise that this is only one piece of a very much bigger puzzle. Last year 5000 kids died in SA of malnutrition, 5 million globally.  So I ask, is the death of a person with (not necessarily from) Covid-19 a more special death, worth many other “normal” deaths, like from hunger of malnutrition, deaths we have become used to? Does it score more points on the political scoreboard because the Covid-19 is where all the focus and media coverage is currently? Do you have any idea what these figures of people dying from malnutrition will become under the current scenario? And let us not also fall here in the trap referred to above of only talking about deaths instead of lives. The slogan has already started in the townships; “Covid will not kill us, hunger will.” 

I urge you once again to show strong leadership by not following the herd and just doing what most other countries did, by acknowledging that this action is inhumane and not cost effective for South Africa.  Other countries with stronger economies have generally a much lighter form of a lock down with the emphasis on maintaining as much economic activity as possible and making it as least unpleasant for its citizens. SA, who can afford it the least, has the hardest lock down with many malicious rules having no positive purpose at all.

Again my suggested action in broad terms:

– Lift this irrational, draconian and inhumane lock down immediately, while you still have the time. The choice is yours, either you lift them or the people will do it for you. No army or police force will be able to prevent it. The price will be total and irreversible chaos.

– You have had many submissions and inputs regarding selective and cost effective measures to balance restraining the spread of the virus and the economic and socio-economic measures. Implement them. Again I say we can have 90% effect with 10% cost.

– Emphasize social distancing, good personal hygiene etc. Ironically the poverty, malnutrition and stress your indiscriminate lock down is causing makes for compromised immune systems and poor health which of course is a fertile ground for the virus. 

– Abolish BEE, restrictive labour legislation and other draconian bureaucracy and red tape in order to help the economy get going. Our situation is critical and cannot afford these cumbersome and outdated ideologies anymore.

One cannot negotiate one’s way out of the consequences of bad choices one makes. The current strategy of lock down could only be justified if we could contain and eradicate this virus within a few weeks. It is commonly accepted that this is not possible. Thus, the longer we keep the spread of this virus at an unrealistic low level, the longer it will be with us before we reach “herd immunity”.  Some or other time we will have to face the bull and take it by the horns. The complete and archaic lock down was a bad choice for South Africa Mr president.

Please Mr President, do not let ego of maintaining the course of an earlier decision stand in your way of saving our country. We are on a knife edge and our time is very very little. We do not have 14 days, we do not have a week, we have NO time. Act now!

I thank you.

Simon van Deventer