It’s day 340 of life under the Covid-19 lockdown.
It’s also day one of life back under level one of the lockdown regulations, following Sunday night’s announcement by the head of state. Hopefully, this stint of life at level one will last longer than the previous one did.
If it does, and we can speed up the rate of getting Covid-19 vaccine into people’s arms — a lot — we may avoid another massive spike in infections and deaths towards the middle of the year.
A lot depends on what happens over Easter.
If we can avoid a repeat of last year’s superspreader services that helped get the virus moving, properly; if we can steer clear of kicking off another wave of infections, like we did in December, there’s a chance that it may.
If not, we’re heading back.
I missed Sunday night’s family meeting.
By the time President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office let us know he wanted a word at 8pm, it was already clear that our man was going to “immediate-effect” us back to level one, and not just because of Economic Freedom Fighters president Julius Malema’s heads-up on Twitter earlier on Sunday.
We’re too broke for the shop to have stayed shut a day longer, and certainly not until 15 March as originally planned, so it made sense to watch the Napoli game rather than spending my Sunday evening watching the lahnee state the obvious.
Plenty of opportunity for that during the working week, after all.
The mobile goes.
It’s the ANC.
Actually, it’s the ANC Member Funeral Plan, offering me a funeral policy for R75 a month. According to the text message, Khongolose will pay me out within 48 hours of my death.
How they will do that, given that I will be dead, I do not know.
I’m also not sure how much capacity they would have to pay me out, given that they don’t have money, or how much I would trust them to do so, given what one hears from the Zondo commission every day.
It might be a bit of a waste of my R75 a month.
Either way, there’s a prompt to follow (free, according to the SMS) for more information, along with the assurance that the ANC is an authorised “Financial Services Provider” and a notice that “Terms and Conditions Apply” (sic).
It appears the new laws forcing the political parties to declare their funding sources are already biting. And the clampdown on raiding the state till that has come in response to the wave of looting that marked the early part of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The parties need to look beyond their traditional sources for funding.
Why not look to the dead, particularly during a pandemic?
I start to SMS Yes, just to see what payout Khongolose is offering for R75 a month. I stop halfway. This could be a scam by somebody impersonating the ANC and a response could end up with my phone being hacked, my bank account raided.
It could also be a scam perpetrated by the ANC, to loot my credit card, or to sign me up for a lifetime membership, with monthly deductions to the Ace Magashule Foundation.
Perhaps I’m too cynical and the SMS — and the ANC’s intentions — are legit. This is a good way to make money from the faithful, given that they can’t attend rallies any more and buy caps and T-shirts.
Logical, if a little macabre.
There’s great potential, if Khongi is offering add-ons, to cater for the more affluent members, those who want a more impressive send-off, who want to go out with a little more black, gold and green.
A clip a month gets you the ANC Member Funeral RET Plan.
Carl Niehaus, in full PEP camouflage and with a 10-man MKMVA honour guard, as chief mourner. Oration in Engels and Afrikaans only.
Catering for 100 mourners by Kebby Maphatsoe thrown in for all first-time claimants. The RET Plan does, however, come with a watch-your-wallet warning.
Cough up R125 a month and you get the RET Plus: ANC secretary general Ace Magashule to deliver the oratory, Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina to lead the singing and refreshments supplied (plastic crockery only) by Gqeberha’s finest, councillor Andile Lungisa.
Perhaps the DA will follow suit and offer its members funeral insurance. The DA wants to flog Nkululeko House and, like the ANC, is broke, now that it has to declare where its money is coming from, and can’t pay its workers.
The DA could go it alone, and set up its own funeral insurance operation.
Like Cape Town, but for dead people.
Or the DA could team up with the ANC, given the language it and its leader, John Steenhuisen, are speaking these days.
Offer the dead a Coalition Package, complete with Ace, Carl and Comrade John, who gets to deliver a vote of thanks at the end of the service.