LOCKDOWN DIARY BY JOURNALIST, CORNELLE CARSTENS - Many think that being an essential worker and able to travel during lockdown, is a godsend.
Quite the contrary. To me, it's a source of great stress.
Instead of feeling secure to travel, having all the necessary permits in hand, two press cards to identify myself as a member of the media, a reflector jacket with MEDIA printed on the back, and sporting an A4 MEDIA sign on the left-hand corner of my windscreen, I still near roadblocks with a sense of trepidation.
The protocol at each roadblock differs to the point of confusion. We have isolated ourselves in Gouritsmond and I have diarised the incidents in an effort to explain.
31 March: My first day travelling to take my son to a dermatologist in George. The appointment was made more than a month in advance, with no inkling of a lockdown on the way. On the N2 at PetroSA and at Langeberg Mall, we observe law enforcement officers sitting in their vehicles. We pass without being stopped. On our way back, the same happens.
3 April: I drive my husband to Mossel Bay for a doctor's appointment. He is undergoing treatment for blood pressure, affecting his vision.
Travelling on the N2, we are stopped. I present my documentation and driver's licence, which gets scanned. We are told to proceed. I request to take a photograph for the newspaper. We continue to Mossel Bay.
7 April: I drive my husband to Mossel Bay for further medical tests. There is a presence of law enforcement vehicles at PetroSA. We pass without being stopped.
9 April: My husband and I travel to Albertinia to buy electricity and groceries. On our return we stop at a roadblock involving several law enforcement departments. No documentation is asked for. My husband is driving and I am instructed to sit on the back seat.
15 April: I travel to work in Mossel Bay, accompanied by my son. On the N2, we are stopped at PetroSA. I am asked to present my documentation. My driver's licence is taken, but not scanned.
The officer asks for my son's permit. I am perplexed. He says that everyone in the vehicle should be in possession of a permit.
He advises me to apply at a local police station. We proceed to Mossel Bay. At the office, I call a local police station that confirms that the police can only issue such a permit to close family members travelling to a funeral.
20 April: We travel to Albertinia to buy electricity and groceries. My husband accompanies me as we are en route to a doctor's appointment in Mossel Bay. I am driving.
We encounter the biggest roadblock to date, stopping traffic in both lanes of the N2. We are asked where we are going and asked for my documentation. After this, we drive on.
Upon our return a different law enforcement officer stops us. He asks to see my documentation and also that of my husband.
We explain that he is undergoing treatment for blood pressure. The officer says that everyone travelling needs a permit. He mentions they are fining people and that the police can issue permits. We express our confusion since we already checked with the police.
The officer says that I need to have a permit to take someone to the doctor. A heavy vehicle approaches from behind and the officer lets us go.
22 April: I travel to the office in Mossel Bay. My son accompanies me for the renewal of his prescribed medication.
On the N2 we are stopped at the check point. The officer introduces himself and tells me that he is performing a routine check.
He asks how far I am travelling and requests to see my driver's licence and scans it.
He wishes me a safe journey. Amen.