Lobby watch: It’s been a ’ARD day’s night
While most of us spend our time whinging about the lack of it, or perhaps trying to make it from bits of pineapple, Marjana Martinic is doing something about it.
Ok, not really, but she has at least put pen to paper and explained in an opinion piece to News24 readers that the country’s reimposed booze ban:
- Deprived people of work;
- Ruined businesses; and
- Fuelled black market liquor trade while robbing the fiscus of duties.
Martinic expressed some sympathy with the government’s stated intention of reducing alcohol-related hospital trauma admissions and trying to curb wife-beating by banning booze.
But our betters, she said, should really know better.
It wasn’t so much an end to binge drinking during hard lockdown, but the limited mobility it imposed that helped empty casualty wards, says Ms Martinic.
Now, A Weak in the News misses his Lion Lager quarts like the passing of summer and as much as Ms Martinic’s arguments hold (fire) water, she could have been a little more upfront in declaring her interests.
The sign-off to her piece makes much of her credentials and international expertise.
“She holds a Ph.D in Neuroscience from Harvard and Northwestern Universities and led the science and policy work of the think tank ICAP and the organization IARD, dedicated to reducing alcohol misuse worldwide. She is widely published on alcohol issues and has served as an independent Scientific Advisor to the European Commission, on the OECD Task Force on Illicit Trade, and on the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions,” it reads.
Ms Martinic sounds like a stand-up kind of gal. But what or who exactly is IARD?
Why it’s the good chaps at the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, of course.
So let’s all raise a glass to IARD and its members and funders who’ve been having a ’ard time of it of late but have still been kind enough to pick up Ms Martinic’s tab. Many thanks go out to Messrs Anheuser-Busch InBev, Diageo, Carlsberg Breweries, Heineken International, Pernod Ricard, Asahi Group, et al.
Back to school, er back home… whatever
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Wednesday announcement that public schools must close for a month (except for Grade 12 and 7s), was a speech, not law.
So says Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools chief executive Paul Colditz.
Schools that were planning to open ahead of 24 August, were following a June government gazette, said Colditz in a News24 report on Sunday.
Until the president’s pronouncements were given effect by the education minister in a gazette, schools could choose to deviate from the August date if they were properly prepared safety wise, he said.
“What we want is that communities should be able to decide for themselves when children must return, as it is presently in the existing directives,” Colditz told TimesLive on Sunday.
So, what now?
Education department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said an amended school calendar would be published soon.
Teachers’ union Sadtu is cross. It doesn’t want to see any exceptions: all teachers must stay at home until it’s entirely safe to return, whenever that may be.
“The government is defeating the social cohesion programme by allowing the rich to undermine the safety and health of the teachers and workers working in those schools and consequently the public,” general secretary Mugwena Maluleke told News24.
Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen has labelled Ramaphosa a “spectator president” who had “bent the knee to all-powerful teachers’ unions, in particular Sadtu, who do not have the best interests of learners at heart”.
A visit to the bank
South Africa is set to receive its first ever loan from the International Monetary Fund within days, reports TimesLive.
The IMF’s executive board is due to meet in Washington on Monday to approve the country’s application for $4.2bn (about R70bn) in Covid-related emergency financing.
Is this a good thing? Cash just in the nick of time? Or does it mean the country is now beholden to the Washington Consensus? Is there even a choice?
There’s a view that it would be better to raise the money locally to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and avoid being stiffed by a huge interest bill if the rand weakens further. (The loan is dollar denominated.)
But Danny Bradlow, a University of Pretoria Professor of International Development Law and African Economic Relations, writing for The Conversation, reproduced here, says an IMF loan has merit: All funding comes with strings attached and it was down to the government to negotiate favourable terms.
“South Africans should not view the IMF either as the protagonist in its nightmares, or as its saviour.”
Back in black and a knight in white Dralon®
EFF supporters were in black on Sunday instead of their customary red to honour the memory of those who have died from Covid-19.
The occasion was the party’s seventh anniversary and its Commander-in-Chief Julius Malema opted for a natty black, long-sleeve Black Lives Matter shirt during the reading of his speech to a virtual rally.
The speech ran to nearly two hours, according to a report by TimesLive, which also provided a link to an SABC recording.
Malema used the occasion to criticise the ANC’s handling of the pandemic; draw attention to corruption under President Cyril Ramaphosa; and praise dead ANC leaders and stalwarts – Andrew Mlangeni, Zindzi and Winnie Mandela.
It was fairly familiar fare, but the beauty of online rallies is that you can enjoy the speech while dipping into other EFF news and developments at the same time. Check out the party’s new online store, for example.
A Weak in the News particularly like the EFF branded long-cut Puffa™-style jacket from the party’s winter range. It’s a snip at only R1000 and as worn by real revolutionaries like Floyd Shivambu.
White jackets matter
Meanwhile, in other Corona fashion news, the Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un is rocking a new-look white Mao suit. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released this gem of the country’s number one, after he met his politburo for an emergency meeting to discuss the country’s first suspected Covid-19 case….
KCNA, Reuters reported, blamed a defector who had left for South Korea three years ago and returned on July 19 after “illegally crossing” the heavily fortified border dividing the countries.
Kim was quoted as saying “the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”, and officials on Friday took the “preemptive measure of totally blocking Kaesong City”.
It’s not clear what should be read into Kim’s outfit but North Korean watchers, certainly those in the bourgeois, counter-revolutionary press have made much of his sartorial choices in the past.
See this old report which touches on a few of Kim Jong Un’s more outrageous outfits.
A Weak in the News particularly liked the leather trench coat, but could not immediately find a link to Kim’s online couture store.
Gates chips in
It sucks to be a billionaire tech mogul turned philanthropist. When you’re not busy giving away your money to ingrates, you’re having to deny that you are planning to implant chips into them.
“We need to get the truth out there.” That’s Bill Gates speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, addressing a poll from Yahoo News/YouGov survey that found 28% of US adults believed a conspiracy theory suggesting Gates planned to use a potential vaccine for Covid-19 to implant microchips in billions of people to monitor their movements.
Gates and his wife Melinda co-chair a foundation that has been pouring money into Covid-19 vaccine research, but have expressed doubts that one will be ready by year end.
Pineapple beer anyone?