I have been speaking to a lot of people, particularly those who have to go to work. Most are employed in areas deemed as epicentres of this pandemic like Sandton and Bedfordview. Most work at retail outlets or are security guards, and some work for private retirement villages. They are exposed to a lot of people, so there’s a great amount of anxiety.
It seems as though everything is a risk for them. Transport is a challenge as some work between the set travel times and have to walk to and from work, at times they would have to do so at night in the absence of transportation. There are fewer taxis than commuters; this leads to overcrowding in some instances and those left behind after the cut-off time will have to walk home.
If you are working nightshift then your challenges may be compounded. It will be harder to get the much-needed rest before your next shift as everyone is at home and in most instances home is one room, so if you are to sleep then everyone particularly the kids will have to go outside.
Buying necessities is also another challenge, with longer queues, no sufficient distance between people in the queue, stores closing earlier than they usually do, and people being paid at different times. Some of us have even chipped in to assist some of the families we know to be in difficulty during these times.
I was told of a few incidences where police officers were alleged to have solicited bribes from local spaza shop operators, many of whom are foreign nationals. There are allegations of police officers taking bribes from illegal liquor operators as well. Unfortunately most of these reports don’t have the necessary information to assist in taking them forward, such as the registration of the police vehicles.
We need a prompt response undertaking of some sort from IPID in light of the situation, like in instances where there’s sufficient information on the officers in question?
There has never been a military presence in Alex since the early 90s during the IFP and ANC tensions, so the deployment has oddly created some form of unexplainable euphoria. Of course, this is notwithstanding the living conditions that prompt people to go outside. In most cases those who’ve been taunting law enforcement have been met with a heavy hand, some are even arrested.
Image from Wikimedia Commons