This week is the start of four weeks of public holidays that cut our work week down to four days.
But some people have already been forced to stay at home because of violent protests.
Last week, parts of the Western Cape had to be shut down, as violent protests made them no-go zones.
There were sporadic protests in Lwandle and Nomzamo townships in Strand, and in Happy Valley near Blackheath.
Invasions of land and housing projects were attempted in Silversands near Delft and the Forrest Village Housing Project in Eersteriver, while most of Khayelitsha was shut down for almost two days last week.
This also meant that residents couldn’t leave those areas to go to work or attend to any of their business.
Naturally, political fingers are being pointed at opposition instigators trying to destabilise areas ahead of the elections next month and, in that way, win votes.
Those being accused are obviously denying it, but it’s curious that most of the unrest is happening in the two powerhouse cities NOT ruled by the ANC Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Sadly, this is nothing new. Protests have become part of our election build-up and you can expect more because they intensify the closer we get.
I don’t know if there’s any one person or group behind it, but what I do know, is that they aren’t as vocal about the violence and criminality as they are about their supposed innocence.
And that is really what we as voters should be concerned about ahead of the elections; who are the politicians who are genuinely concerned with our wellbeing?
Consider the fact that several local businesses were looted and vandalised, including 58 shops owned by Somali refugees and a computer company that lost 40 PCs.
Land and houses were invaded illegally, 21 schools in the Eersteriver area had to be shut; and access to healthcare was being threatened, as staff were unable to enter to relieve their colleagues, who also couldn’t leave.
These are wrong no matter which way you look at it and leaders should have the integrity to say so loudly and clearly.
Instead, they stay quiet and even encourage it, because it will mean the votes of those who want to hear that support.
Land is, of course, the hot-button issue of this elections.
And it’s only a little ironic that land protests would happen so intensely in April, the month of both Jan van Riebeeck’s birthday and in which we (used to) commemorate his arrival in the Cape.
People having access to land and housing is not being disputed, but how they do it definitely is.
And those who openly support land grabs in exchange for popularity votes, knowing full well that they will not be able to continue that support once they are in office.
Again, I don’t know who is fuelling this dangerous fire, but I do know they do not deserve to lead in any way or form.
If you are reading this and you have been told by a politician to go invade a piece of land or a government house, you should ignore them and definitely not vote for them, because they don’t have your and your community’s best interest at heart.
It’s more than just a little political mischief; with our history of election and xenophobic violence, one would expect a lot more care and prudence from our leaders around sensitive issues like this.
These actions are sickening because it is playing games with people’s emotions and possibly their lives.
So as we get closer to Election Day on 8 May, be very careful which politician’s advice you act on.
I would venture to say that almost all their motives will be questionable at this point.
As for the politicians with grand ambitions, try delivering services that people need and have been begging for.
Stop using vulnerable and gullible voters for your own political aims and agenda.
Go ahead and attack one another with as much vitriol as you want, just leave us out of it.