Some residents of the Northern Cape say COVID-19 has had a major impact on their freedom. They say although government was compelled to impose a hard lockdown on the country to combat the spread of the coronavirus, they can no longer live normally.
Residents say they’ve lost their freedom to earn a living, while some businesses have been forced to shut down.
South Africa is celebrating 27 years of independence from apartheid. The dawn of the new dispensation came with the new Constitution hailed as the best in terms of human rights.
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Most residents say, while they have enjoyed most of their rights over the years, the hard lockdown restrictions had somehow impacted their freedom.
Albert Muianga, shoemaker working at Kimberley taxi rank, says his freedom to earn an income was affected by the restrictions.
“Lockdown has really affected our business because we were not working. And now we want to start, but don’t have money to start.”
Jean-Mary Tjiohimba from Platfontein sold beauty products, but had to close shop as her business could not survive as she could not purchase new products.
She says limitations to her freedom to movement and education have impacted badly on her livelihood.
“Not being able to sell the products because I couldn’t buy anything; I couldn’t stock. We had to be indoors the whole time. So, the hardest part was knowing that I wasn’t able to register because I am a student, I’m studying, I wasn’t going to be able to register the next year because I don’t have an income for the whole year. So now this year I’m at home; it’s supposed to be my final year.”
Shoemaker Tshepo Radikane says he survived with the assistance of others.
“Some of us survived through going to other brothers for something to eat and to our families.”
Treza Lenda, is a pensioner from Platfontein, says she used her pension money to open a tavern to supplement her social grant, but now due to the hard lockdown, her tavern is closed.
“I funded the business with my pension money; disability grant and the children’s grant. I gave him to start the business, but now we cannot do anything at the moment.”
Residents are urging government to speed up the vaccination process so that they can have their freedom back.
Reporting by Motlalepule Morake.
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