Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) stand guard at a vehicle checkpoint (VCP) in Sea Point on July 24 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ROGER SEDRES
Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) stand guard at a vehicle checkpoint (VCP) in Sea Point on July 24 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ROGER SEDRES

Almost a year ago, the first cases of what became to be known as Covid-19 were contracted in China. Little did the world know that only a few months later much of the world would come to a complete standstill. 

Citizens from all walks of life suffered the economic and health consequences, and sometimes, the decision-makers as well.

1. While SA’s initial lockdown to ensure compliance with restrictions meant to contain the coronavirus outbreak, were largely welcomed, the country faced many crises before the winter was over.

2. Among the controversial restrictions was a ban on cirgarette sales, which led to a surge in illicit trading. This matter, along with a few others, ended up in court.

3. Only a few weeks into what many described as one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, the case numbers were picking up. But this was nothing compared to what followed later in the year.

4. After South Africans endured a smokeless and drinkless winter, there were finally signs that things might return to normal by mid-August. The economy, however, had already lost billions of rand.

5. Working South Africans were not the only ones who lived with uncertainty. The department of education demonstrated on more than one occasion its lack of decisive leadership.

6. The lockdowns meant that many would lose their jobs, endure salary cuts or face other forms of financial pressure. The government took steps to provide assistance, including establishing a new social grant.

7. The Western Cape was the first province to reach a peak in its infection rate. Amid speculation and concern over shortages, it came as a relief when hospitals in the province did not run out of beds.

8. Perhaps the one thing more frustrating than being confined to your home was trying to make sense of some of the government’s rules. Peter Bruce argued that the president had to perform a very difficult balancing act to uphold the legitimacy of the lockdown.

9. While the initial lockdown was only set to last a number of weeks, there were indications from the start that this would be the long-term reality.

10. The initial measures  included the deployment of the military in a number of neighbourhoods. This decision was met with mixed reaction and, it turns out, with good reason.

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