2020 will go down in history as the year of COVID, the global pandemic that started in the Wuhan province of China and ultimately brought the entire world to a grinding halt, with many countries instituting lockdowns in an effort to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, and South Africa having some of the harshest regulations.
In addition to the human toll that the virus has taken, it has also wreaked significant economic havoc resulting in widespread retrenchments, job losses and salary cuts. In March, Moody’s Investors Services cut the country’s credit rating below investment grade, also known as “junk status”, a move that has largely been the result of the recessionary effects brought about by the nationwide lockdown that has been in place since the beginning of this year and its profound effects on businesses and employees, many of whom found themselves unable to work.
In trying to extract something positive from what seems a very dire situation for many South Africans is the fact that we have enjoyed four successive interest rate cuts. So, for those of us with debt repayments hanging over us, this reduction in the interest should have brought about some relief and along with this many banks also extended payment holidays during many months of the lockdown. At a more macro level, the housing market has certainly turned in favour of prospective buyers. The sector has seen a resurgence of interest and set to continue for some time, well into 2021 if not longer.
Although a terrible manifestation if the state of our country, the increased levels of crimes should have assisted many of us who derive our livelihoods from providing security related products.
Staying with security-related products, we launched the latest addition to our sliding gate motor range, the cerebral D5 SMART, earlier this year, and we have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response from installers and end-users alike. This operator is very much aligned with the characteristics and traditions of the Information Age and the Internet of Things – with its wireless, app-driven interface and ability to learn from its environment – and, combined with novel theft and break-in protection and smart hardware for simplified installation – we truly believe that we have delivered the most innovative sliding gate solution on the market.
Looking to the future, we have a plethora of new products to look forward to in 2021, including new additions to the SMART ecosystem.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for sticking with us through these difficult and unprecedented times, and to wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe festive season.