Day 426 – Vaccine links

South Africa’s rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine is well underway, or perhaps more accurately punctuated, it’s… well… underway.

It’s been fraught with problems from well before the outset, namely that we didn’t buy any vaccines, and then when the vaccines that we didn’t order didn’t arrive, we blamed “the West”. But several (or more) other places in Africa and our third world peers around the globe seem to be having very little issue with securing their vaccines, despite “the West”. And while I’m not denying that things could have been a bit more sharey, it’s really just a convenient scapegoat for their incompetence.

Two major issues with the trickleout are the lack of eligible people registering to get vaccinated, and the plethora of ineligible people who are getting vaccinated.

The first of these problems comes about because when you ask over-60s to register online, you overlook the fact that they don’t have access to devices and/or data (the Western Cape is making an effort to change this), and even if they do have those things to hand, they tend to be more technologically-challenged than many other age groups. So we’re looking at around 25% of the cohort who have signed up. That’s not enough. And that’s just signing up, not being invited to get the vaccine, and (also importantly) not necessarily being able to get to where they need to be to get the vaccination, even if they do get invited. That’s really not enough. Thankfully, there are stories of help being on hand, but they are few and far between (this is literally the only one I have heard of, so actually “there is story” would be more accurate).

Even then, we still don’t have enough vaccine to go around: either homegrown or from elsewhere.
And no-one is saying when either problem might be resolved.

So, the system isn’t working. And then to add insult to injury (and this being South Africa), there are those who aren’t following the rules, slipping in and getting their vaccinations early.

The man in charge of the government’s Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS), Dr Nicolas Crisp, sounds gatvol.
From having to spend time haggling with a Twitter user who was telling others how to use a link in a medical aid registration system to hack the EVDS and get in line for a vaccine if you’re younger than 60, to having to shut down the healthcare worker site because youngsters were using it to get access to vaccines, it has already been a rough week. And it’s only Tuesday.

I feel for him, but a more robust (some would call it “adequate”) system wouldn’t have had this sort of issue. Who could have foreseen South Africans bending the rules by… *gasp*… clicking a checkbox on a website?
There was a big fuss over “an influencer” jumping the queue a couple of weeks ago, ostensibly claiming that he was a healthcare worker (checkbox), when actually – as mentioned above – he doesn’t have a real job. But it continues, with a well-known local safari guide openly admitting to cheating the system to get his vaccination yesterday. And then sharing in his IG story that he had arranged to go back and get a second dose earlier than planned so that he can go on holiday to Iceland. And to be fair, a ‘togging trip to Reykjavík does seem like a genuine reason for someone to get the jab instead of it going to a vulnerable 90 year old just as the third wave hits SA. I mean, obviously.

But: balance. We need to note that he didn’t get the vaccine for him. He got it for his family and for his clients. Altruism on point. It’s surely just a slip of tongue then when he mentions that he wanted to get the J&J vaccine “because then I could only get one jab and I’m done: easier for travel”, because that wouldn’t affect his family and clients, would it? And this was all about them.

Yeah. I think he’s a bit of a wanker. But no matter how important he considers himself, he’s just another drop in the ocean when it comes to those manipulating the system. And those individuals are just a tiny part of the mess, but they are also symptomatic of yet another dysfunctional nightmare being served to us by our kleptocratic, incompetent government. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I can’t see myself being vaccinated (here in SA) before the end of this year.

And that means no holiday in Iceland for me this winter.

Day 406 – More SA politics fun

SA politics is rarely dull. Some people might say that this is a good thing, and represents a young, vibrant democracy, constantly evaluating and questioning itself. And yes, that would be a good thing, but it does seem to be mainly widespread corruption and intra-party mud slinging which is taking the centre stage, while actually serving the country (which really, really needs serving), falls by the wayside.

The most recent infighting is within the governing party, the ANC, who are happily fiddling while Rome has no decent housing, a disastrous education system, zero unemployment prospects, an upcoming third wave of Covid-19 (now closer than ever) and plenty of crumbling infrastructure.
Still, while we’re concentrating on their petty squabbles, we’re not talking about all that other stuff, are we?

And I don’t use the term “petty squabbles” lightly, because while the consequences of their collective actions might be very serious indeed, it’s hard not to crack a faint grin at their playground posturing.

The latest episode (coming a whole day after the previous episode) concerns ANC Secretary General Elias “Ace” Magashule. He’s likely bent as a 12 Rand note, having been charged with fraud, corruption and money-laundering. Taking decisive (cough) action, (some of) the rest of the ANC leadership gave him 30 days to step aside from his post for the duration of his trial. That 30 days has just expired and Ace is still there. And so the President suspended him.

And Ace then suspended the President. “Lol”.

Cyril is having none of it. And rightly so, it seems, because while Ace says that Cyril has no right to suspend him, Cyril does have (the majority of) the NEC on his side. Ace has… well… himself. And constitutionally (that’s the ANC Constitution, not the National one), he doesn’t even have himself, because he’s been suspended.
Ace has as much power to suspend the President as my beagle has.

Lots of enthusiasm, lots of noise, zero understanding of how the actual political system works.

Loves free treats.

And so the ANC fragmentation merry-go-round continues, with some heavyweights and branches coming out in support of Magashule, more of them defending Ramaphosa, and local political commentators wasting no time at all in invoking Godwin’s Law.

All of this chaos must be like manna from heaven for the opposition, right?

Well, sure, if they were able to utilise it to strengthen their position. Sadly (I say sadly because a decent, strong opposition is hugely important to any country, and not because of any personal political affiliation), they are so incompetent that they’re actually going down in the polls despite the complete and utter fuckshow happening up top.
And why? Because of crap leadership and… gosh… political infighting within the party.

It all comes down to the cult of personality over actual ability to do the job they are elected and mandated to do. In a recent small scale study, an orange TV host was elected President of a powerful North American country, despite having no demonstrable political ability at all. The world watched on.

It did not end well.

I’m not saying that we’re quite at that level of disaster yet, but until we get leaders who are more concerned with leading the country than their own parties and personal position and wealth, we’re going nowhere except backwards.

It’s very frustrating, hugely costly and thoroughly depressing.

Day 398 – Broken Clock

I’m no fan of the our local rag the Cape Times, but even though it misses the mark on most everything, even a broken clock is right twice a day (unless it’s a digital clock, in which case, probably not).

The Cape Times is not a digital clock though, and it was probably right with its headline for Freedom Day yesterday.

I didn’t read the article. I didn’t need to.

I’m not claiming that any other government anywhere else is necessarily any better, but I would argue that any other government anywhere else never had the hope and positivity that came before the 1994 elections here. The opportunity for a proper fresh start.

That’s all long gone now, of course.

Day 378 – More on vaccinations

The Minister of Health inspected a local vaccination centre today:

While professional flip-flopper and opportunist clown Julius Malema threatened to do exactly the same:

Big. Yawn.

Yeah, I think that we’re all pissed off with the complete incompetence of the government and their non-existent rollout of vaccines, but other than making some headlines, what exactly will this planned sit-in achieve? Oh, aside from potentially blocking any vaccinations that might actually have happened.

South Africa vaccinated 6,471 people today. That’s about the same number that the UK has done every 28 minutes, 24 hours a day in the last week (we’ve been through this). Even Zimbabwe managed to jab 16,784. But you can’t vaccinate people with vaccines you don’t have, and Zim has registered Indian, Chinese and Russian vaccines for use. We sent our first million vaccines back to India and it appears that we’ve received very, very few more since then.

I can’t wait for the private sector to get involved and get this shitshow sorted out.