It is funny how things change! One minute you’re excited about penning a column that will share your views on football matters and possibly get the readers talking. The next minute you’re actually forced to be a bearer of bad news. Who wants to share bad news, anyway?
Our dearest Soccer Laduma readers, since the outbreak of the Coronavirus a few weeks ago, which resulted in the State President, Cyril Ramaphosa, declaring it a state of disaster and ultimately a lockdown, we’ve all been hit very hard. However, all things considered, Soccer Laduma staff continued to weather the storm and pull out all stops to ensure that you get your weekly dose of football content on the shelves as well as the daily intake on our digital and social media platforms. With the continuous spread of the pandemic, more measures have now since been put to place in an effort to bring this virus to the ground.
As the editor of this newspaper, having joined this wonderful team almost 15 years ago, never once did I think a day would come when I, or anyone for that matter, would have to stand (ok, sit) in front of you, writing a column making such a heartbreaking announcement about this newspaper. You will remember that, a day after the President’s address, we informed you of a meeting that was to take place at Media24 where we’d get all the necessary information from the powers that be. It was agreed that the government regarded media as an essential service and therefore we were given the green light to continue printing and distributing the newspaper as, at the time, there was no proof that there were any health hazards in the process of printing and distributing the newspapers. However, while newspapers may not spread the virus, the distribution of them – done through human contact – can’t be ruled out as a potential transport for the virus.
That’s where a bold decision had to be taken that, at least, for the next two weeks, we will suspend printing and distributing your favourite newspaper and only have the digital version of the paper available. That means you can still purchase the paper on Magster. Don’t be surprised when you don’t find the paper on the shelves as we will continue to keep you posted on the suspension of this service. We have done all we could to try and avoid coming to this decision, but putting at risk the lives of our readers is too much of a price for us to bear. We just can’t afford to do that – as much as we are in business, human lives are more important. We’d rather stomach the loss in revenue than risking your lives.
A number of possible solutions were given by the printers but, once again, after careful consideration, we were not happy to implement some of them. For instance, there were provinces that were willing to continue printing and distributing the paper as usual, but it didn’t make sense to us to offer our services to a select group of our readers. If we make the paper available, let it be available to everyone as we believe in treating our readers as one. It is not an ideal situation, but we plead with you guys to bear with us during this stormy season. We hope to bring you great news about the availability of the paper at your favourite stores very soon. We are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our print run returns to normal, soon. However, until we have a full-proof system of distributing the paper without any potential spread of the virus, we will continue to go digital. Once again, please bear with us as we try to find solutions and answers to this challenge. Remember, there are so many people involved in the production of a newspaper and the copy of your newspaper exchanges hands from one department to the next before they reach the shop owners and finally the readers. A lot can happen in that process and it is for that reason that we have to exercise caution. We are doing this in the best interest of our readers. Notwithstanding this challenging situation, we will continue to strive to put together the best possible content for you, our wonderful readers and boss. In the meantime, we will look into making the whole edition of the paper available on our website, while we also sell it on Magster.
On another sad note, on behalf of our readers and the whole Soccer Laduma team, I’d like to extend our heartfelt condolences to one of our own, Doctor Khumalo, who lost his mother Mme Mable Khumalo last week Tuesday. Strongs to you and the family, Mntungwa!