I, Nicci Coertze, do not have a zillion academic degrees, I'm not a genius (even if my 10-year old thinks I am!) and I'm not the president of SA. But after listening to our ministers this afternoon, I want to reiterate the following: DON'T BE STUPID!!
*Be CAREFUL what you forward and what you share on social media!! I have listened to the government officials this afternoon, and they are out for blood. Minister Motsoaledi said the pictures circulating on social media (Facebook and WhatsApp) about the Chinese nationals attempting to enter a port of entry are fake - and the people who have posted it, will be charged. The first test case of the new regulations... They said they will not hesitate to lay criminal charges against people sharing fake news - specifically fake news surrounding the corona virus. It is NOT difficult to check whether something is fake news or not!! If you are not sure, ask me, and I will do my utmost to research and find out and verify facts. I'm a VERY good researcher, and I promise you, if I can't find the facts, I will say so. If you are not sure, don't post. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
The message: Don't spread fake news. Don't be stupid.
*Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has clarified that some of the SANDF videos on social media are “old & fake news”. “You have not seen deployment yet, you are just seeing soldiers move from point A to B,” she says. When the SANDF deploys, you will know it. Trust me...
The message: Don't say things based on heresy. Don't be stupid.
*Transport: All long-distance passenger rail services, both public and private, will stop operations for the duration of the lockdown. Services of Shosholoza Meyl, Premier Classe and Blue Train operated by PRASA and Transnet respectively, have already been suspended. All bus transport services have been ceased unless they are transporting essential services workers and only at certain times. All domestic and international flights are prohibited, except for some cargo. Cruise ships are banned completely. Minibus taxis may transport essential services workers ONLY. Only form 5 am to 9 am and from 4 pm to 8 pm. THAT IS IT. No taxis will be allowed on the road whatsoever outside of these times. Uber and metered taxis are PROHIBITED from operating at all UNLESS they are transporting essential services workers and also only the times that taxis are allowed to operate.
The message: Don't travel. Don't be stupid.
*All border posts in South Africa are CLOSED for people for the next 21 days. Only produce and goods will be let through.
The message: Don't use the borders, they will stop you. Don't be stupid.
*Authorities are investigating 30 cases of so-called price gouging on price-controlled essentials such as hand sanitisers, masks and toilet paper during the coronavirus outbreak, acting commissioner of the National Consumer Commission Thezi Mabuza said. Certificates have been issued to supermarkets including a Spar branch in Silver Lakes, Gauteng, for raising the price of Dettol antiseptic; a Spar in Plattekloof, Cape Town for hand sanitiser; North Safety in Cape Town for hand sanitiser; Checkers Hyper in Kempton Park and Makro in Durban for toilet paper; National Overalls in Gauteng for face masks; Bloemfontein Pharmacy in the Free State for gloves; Mopane Pharmacy in Mpumalanga and Seaside Pharmacy in Table View in the Western Cape for face masks; and Pick 'n Pay in Milnerton, Western Cape for hand sanitiser.
The message: Price gouging will not be tolerated - especially now. Don't be stupid.
*"There shall be no dogs that will be walked. Cluster met and decided to rethink this move which was announced by the Health Minister Zweni Mkhize in several interviews today," said Minister Cele. You can NOT walk your dog people. Walk your dog in your garden. If you don't have a garden, imagine your living room carpet is the garden. Or your bathroom floor - or whatever. But you can NOT take your dog or yourself outside your property. You are also NOT allowed to go for a jog. If you absolutely HAVE to leave your home, make sure that you have a VERY good reason to leave your property if you absolutely have to and make sure you have PROOF, e.g. a script if you have to go to the pharmacy, or a till slip if you had to go out to buy food for survival (i.e. you will DIE if you don't buy food - not to go and buy the tomato sauce you forgot to get!)
The message: You are not allowed to jog, or walk your dog, or leave your property. Stay at home. Don't be stupid.
*No alcohol will be sold during the lockdown and people may not transport alcohol from one point to another. Again, the law is that you stay at home. The exception is for survival: food and health. Security forces will be making sure that the law is enforced.The SANDF will be playing a support rule, helping the police enforce the regulations. People will be arrested and will spend up to 6 months in jail for non-compliance. Arrests can be made by SANDF or SAPS.
The message: Don't take your friends alcohol. Stay home. Don't be stupid.
*Without jeopardising my own safety, let me just make a blanket statement and say this: Do NOT put yourself in ANY situation where someone from the SANDF or a police officer has the opportunity to question any of your movements! Don't invite a "somebody" who is used to being a "not a very important anybody" to go on a power trip and give them reason to exercise their RIGHT to arrest you and/or use force (they don't yield R4's for nothing.) It is only 21 days. It is NOT worth losing your freedom over! And most DEFINITELY not worth jeopardising your safety over!
The message: Don't be an idiot and get into an argument with a gun-yielding, power-hungry person temporarily in charge of your freedom of movement. Don't be stupid.
Common sense is not common. At all. This has been proven over and over and OVER again the past few days here in South Africa. Apparently common sense is a rare novelty that not too many people possess. If you don't have common sense, ask someone who does. But don't be stupid. It's as simple and as difficult as that.
The lockdown and social distancing will have an effect on flattening the curve. It is designed to reduce the spread within the community and it is an impactful strategy. Given the global nature of the problem, doing the right thing is the smartest thing to do. It's also very, very hard. I wish you well on this journey. It's only 21 days (for now). Don't make it a lifelong sentence.