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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Nandos strike again!


For those bloggers not living in South Africa a bit of a background.

Nandos is a fast food outlet who have in the past come up with very pertinent adverts to happenings in South Africa. They must have a brilliant advertising company doing these adverts as it is normally only a day after something has happened that they have their adverts out. In this case the latest advert is in response to FNB pulling their latest “We can help you ” campaign after pressure was brought down on them by the ANC.

nandos

I love the bit where they say Freedom of Speech. You have it, so use. We do.

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5 Comments

Posted by on 24/01/2013 in Uncategorized

 

SERIOUSLY?


teardrop

It has been an interesting week or so here in South Africa. There have been heat waves, floods, strikes, fires and court cases 

Here are some musings that kept me busy this week while driving to and from work as I don’t use my phone, nor drink coffee, or heaven forbid, put on makeup while travelling:-

Pretoria/Johannesburg Hi-way:

In the last week I have noticed the local traffic officials on the hi-way are traveling in unmarked vehicles with only a sticker on the door stating that the car is being used by the local Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). The blurb at the bottom of the sticker states that the cars are sponsored by Avis. (What happened to all the powerful BMW’s that were donated just the other day?)

Now I was just wondering if there could be a conflict of interest that Avis may request that any traffic fines that their company picks, up be overlooked in the spirit of a mutually benefiting agreement?

I do suppose that both the traffic department and Avis will both deny any knowledge of any agreement but going by the history of how business is conducted by our councils it would still leave me wondering. And what use are they on the hi-way as they have to obey all the rules of the road as they don’t have any flashing blue lights to open the way. (This alone must be tough that they now have to leave home early like the rest of us just to get to work, and not rely on their blue lights to get them through the traffic even though there is no emergency!)

In some parts of the world they are aiming at zero fatalities on some of their hi-ways. There is a drive/campaign currently on here in South Africa to reduce the amount of collisions and deaths on our roads. To quote  the  Deputy Transport Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga in July 2012, ‘there was nothing normal about 14 000 people dying in South African road accidents every year.’  But this morning I once again witnessed a collision where four cars were involved with related fatalities. Now, I don’t have any personal grudge against busses and taxis but it would seem to me that drivers of these vehicle seem to operate way above the law without any fear of prosecution by the traffic officials. Just prior to the collision, in the lane going the opposite way, I saw a taxi exceeding the speed limit of 100 kph  (for public transport vehicles) travelling in the emergency lane then ducking right across four lanes causing cars in those lanes to have to apply their brakes to avoid the taxi. Then not even a hundred metres further on, the taxi swung back across all the lanes with the same modus operandi as it had used to move from the emergency lane, thereby causing other motorists to apply their brakes to avoid a collision. Just in front of me there was a traffic official sitting in an official traffic department vehicle with all the bells and whistles (lights, decals, colouring etc). He obviously had the exact same view of all of this happening as I did. Yet he just adjusted his posture in his seat to a more comfortable position and continued on his merry way as if nothing untoward had happened. It is this perception that taxi and bus drivers are untouchable that allows them to break the law with dire consequences to other motorists.

I must also mention that the only vehicles I do see them pulling over are those with foreign number plates. Could it be that they are easy pickings? Just wondering…

 Pretoria:    

If I was a tourist, I would never guess that Pretoria was the capital of South Africa if I were to look at the state of the city center and the suburb, Sunnyside. To put it mildly, it is dirty, smells like a latrine, and is in a state of utter disrepair!

But what caught my attention in the news, was an article of a strike of city council bus drivers that was averted. It seems that their gripe is that of the 200 plus busses used to service Pretoria, there are only 20 busses that are capable of running! The mechanics at the bus depot are having to resort to cannibalizing spares from other broken down buses, as they have no new spares that can be used to get the broken down buses back on the road.  My question is what happened to the funds that must have been budgeted for by the council for maintenance and repairs of the bus fleet?  The ratepayers in Pretoria  (apart from government buildings, officials and diplomatic properties) still pay their rates, yet we cannot even keep the cities buses running or keep the city clean.

Bloemfontein:

My current favourite person in South Africa is Free State rector Professor Jonathan Jansen, who has in the last while made some most enlightening statements which really make sense and highlight topics which the government and the population need to take note of.

On Monday Prof Jansen took a full swipe at both the government and the Minister of Education AngieMotshekga. He was addressing the first-year students and told them that they were not to become like South Africa.  He said that it was an utter disgrace that the minister boasted about the pass rate in matric (grade 12) for 2012 when the required mark to pass was only 30%.

He went on to say that he was willing to expel any students on campus threw stones, hit anybody else, treat women without respect and just generally were angry. This stance of Prof Jansen is something that the government should have applied a long time ago but I personally think that the government has been using the strikes and disturbances to further their own agendas.

The quote by Prof Jansen that really made my day, was something that my late mother used to say to us on occasion:  “You may be poor, but you can behave decently.”

anc flag

The ANC and FNB

Now it seems that ANC and its youth branch have put some serious pressure on FNB to withdraw the ad campaign which aired last week. (And this after it was proved that they gave Zuma a loan under suspicious circumstances)

It is very sad that the ANC was able to put on enough pressure that the bank had to withdraw the campaign as they feared for the safety of the children that took part.  It seems that the participants may have been threatened and now feared reprisals as it is alleged that the ANC called the participating children’s action as treason against the state.

No wonder the ANC wants to bring in the Freedom of Information Act! Then they would be in a position where they could just ban children speaking about what they want as free citizens of South Africa.

Here is an extract of the ad campaign where children are expressing their hopes and views of a free South Africa.

Many years ago, in 1976, a group of brave young people stood on the ground where we are gathered tonight.

From this very place, they took their first steps towards freedom.

It is because of people like them, that I was born free, born from the very roots of Limpopo, in the greatest country in the world.

But we are not here tonight to talk about revolution.

We are here to talk about belief, and what belief can do.

Today, we, the children of South Africa, would like to share the following message with you:

There will be a day, when the difficulties we see before us now,

the greed, mistrust and anger, will be behind us.

There will be a day,  a day when the violence, and our indifference to the violence,

will be a thing of the past.

A day when the children of this land will no longer be slaves to their illiteracy, but free to write their own destiny.

There will be a day when, instead of blaming each other, we’ll build each other.

Instead of hurting each other, we’ll help each other.

The challenges before us, cannot be solved by money, or petty politics, protest or violence.

All of the great things we’ve done, we’ve done together, by helping each other.

 

Now the ANC states that the bank is ‘disrespectful’ and that it is appalled by the campaign which attacks the ANC, its leadership and government.

 “FNB, in an obviously lame attempt to recreate an Arab Spring of some sort in South Africa, uses children to make unproven claims of a ‘government rife with corruption’,” spokesperson Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said in a statement.

Now I’m sorry to say that both the ANC and it’s youth league must sit back and reflect on the very bit where they say that unproven claims are being made against a ‘government rife with corruption’. Just in the last few years we have had corruption charges leveled against members of parliament, ministers, city councils, police, government departments as well as members of the ANC and the ANCYL. What about the various commissions appointed to investigate corruption? The Arms Deal spring to mind, involving the very head of government. What about the violence in the country? Is this just a figment of imagination that the children don’t see? One wonders how come there have been allegations of government involvement in these violent strikes.

I also wonder if this is the start of the ANC applying censorship by pressure instead of the law?

As Bob Dylan once sang – Now is the time for your tears. (The times they are a changing)

 

Oh yes, the campaign went viral, so let’s see the ANC try stop the world from seeing it now. If they had kept quiet it would most likely have stay local J J

 

 

The views expressed on this website / blog / profile are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, political party or affiliations. 

 

 

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Lady in Black


I was prompted to think of which music I would take with me if I was limited to only 8 discs.

One bit of music that came to mind was “Lady in Black” by Uriah Heep. The name of the album: Salisbury. Without even thinking about it I started singing the words in my head – bad news! For the rest of the day I have been singing it over and over. I tried some other songs and they even morphed into Lady in Black.

Uriah Heep Salisbury

So I decided to upload the words for those old enough to remember it, so that it won’t only be me having it running around inside my head 🙂

She came to me one morning, one lonely Sunday morning,
Her long hair flowing in the mid-winter wind.
I know not how she found me, for in darkness I was walking,
And destruction lay around me from a fight I could not win.

She asked me name my foe then. I said the need within some men
To fight and kill their brothers without thought of men or god.
And I begged her give me horses to trample down my enemies,
So eager was my passion to devour this waste of life.

But she would not think of battle that reduces men to animals,
So easy to begin and yet impossible to end.
For she the mother of all men had counciled me so wisely that
I feared to walk alone again and asked if she would stay.

“Oh lady lend your hand,” I cried, “Oh let me rest here at your side.”
“Have faith and trust in me,” she said and filled my heart with life.
There is no strength in numbers. I’ve no such misconceptions.
But when you need me be assured I won’t be far away.

Thus having spoke she turned away and though I found no words to say
I stood and watched until I saw her black cloak disappear.
My labor is no easier, but now I know I’m not alone.
I find new heart each time I think upon that windy day.
And if one day she comes to you drink deeply from her words so wise.
Take courage from her as your prize and say hello for me.

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on 18/01/2013 in Uncategorized

 

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We have used 4% of this year


 

Now we have only used up 4% of the year at this stage but it seems to me that we are rushing headlong into a mess once again. The year 2012 will be remembered by many as a year when corruption, cover ups and general mayhem were the norm.

 

In many prosecutions, the cases were thrown out due to dockets going missing or tampering with evidence. Our esteemed president, Jacob Zuma, had barely uttered the words “we need to stamp out corruption” while in Durban this week, that we read about the docket in a very suspicious case going missing.

 

We have one lot of police saying it isn’t missing and that it had been sent to another section (specialized provincial police investigative unit) to investigate. Then we get this other section which is actually the directorate or police watchdog, saying it hasn’t got it and that they are waiting for it so they can start the investigation.

Unless this is cleared up quickly, the public is going to lose what little faith they have in the police. If the very people who have sworn to protect us are up to wrongdoings once again, who can we turn to in times of need?

 

audi r8 crash

Picture: JAMES OATWAY

Audi R8 crash docket ‘gone’

GRAEME HOSKEN | 16 January, 2013 00:076

The remains of an Audi R8 on Oxford Road, Rosebank, in which a motorist and a policeman died early yesterday. The driver had raced away while the policeman was in his car searching for drugs. Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said two police officers had stopped the vehicle and found a small amount of dagga inside. The second policeman gave chase in a police van when the driver sped off. The Audi driver eventually lost control and hit a tree, a wall and a lamppost. He and the policeman were declared dead at the scene Picture: JAMES OATWAY

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The following was sent to me this morning:

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate says it has been unable to locate the police docket relating to the car crash that claimed the life of a policeman and a businessman during the early hours of Thursday on Oxford Road, Johannesburg .

The police insist that the docket is being handled by a specialised provincial police investigative unit and is under lock and key – but the directorate, the police watchdog, says it has been unable to locate it.

The directorate investigates high-profile crimes committed by the police, such as corruption.

Its spokesman, Moses Dlamini, said: “Up to today we have not been given the docket. We have made inquiries but have not received it. We don’t know where it is.”

The docket contains details of the mysterious car crash that killed Constable Goodman Lubisi and businessman Areff Haffejee. They were killed when Haffejee lost control of his Audi R8 supercar and crashed into a lamppost and a wall in Oxford Road.

At the time, police claimed that Haffejee had tried to escape officers who had found dagga in his car when they stopped him at a roadblock in Sandton, northern Johannesburg.

They allege that Haffejee, pursued by Lubisi’s partner in a police van, crashed his car during a high-speed chase.

But the police’s version of events has been rubbished by witnesses, police officers close to the investigation and investigative directorate detectives.

The police have failed to explain:

  • Why Lubisi did not use his service pistol to force Haffejee to stop his car;
  • Why the policemen did not call for backup;
  • Why Lubisi’s colleagues at the crash scene waited nearly 10 minutes before calling for ambulances;
  • Why the police van’s vehicle monitoring device shows that the vehicle was not speeding, braking hard or rapidly cornering, as it would in a high-speed chase;
  • What happened to the dagga said to have been found in Haffejee’s car;
  • Why there was a delay in notifying the investigative directorate about the crash; and
  • Why the statement of witness Selaelo Mannya, who was driving alongside the police van and the Audi, had not been taken.

The police have yet to name a third policeman involved, who was travelling in the police van.

An IPID investigator said there were “major” discrepancies between the police’s version of events and what other evidence suggested.

“There is no technical evidence to support the theory of a chase. If there was [a chase], why was the police van driving slowly – in some parts of the ‘chase’ no faster than 40km/h,” the investigator said.

“If Haffejee was not trying to get away, we need to know why the policeman was in his car. We need to know why it took so long for the police to contact the IPID.”

He said the investigation would look into the policemen’s service records.

“So far we have not been able to question the other policemen as they are on sick leave.” (Why would they suddenly be on sick leave – a bit convenient I think)

Mannya said claims by the police that they were chasing Haffejee were rubbish.

“When I stopped at a traffic light both the Audi and the police stopped next to me. Why would they do this if they were chasing?”

Mannya said that though he had given the police all his contact details, he had not been asked to provide a statement.

“What I saw happening was highly suspicious . those policemen were not chasing that car . they were not in a hurry to phone for help.”

Police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said the docket was not lost.

“It is with the provincial investigative unit, which is tasked to investigate high-profile crimes,” he said.

“They are investigating this incident because one of our own died and because of the allegations.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 16/01/2013 in South Africa

 

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Panorama


I have finally entered the world of doing panoramas. Both shots were taken without using a tripod but the end result didn’t come out too badly. (Reminder to self – carry your tripod more often.)

Photo 1

Here I used a total of five pictures. Need to work on straightening the buildings a bit but overall it doesn’t look too bad. And the spot 3/4 to the right is not dust, it is a helicopter!

Dubai Panorama

Photo 2

Here I was far too close to the building and my 50mm lens (there was a challenge sometime ago, to go out with only one lens, and use it for all your shooting. And I tried it and it is a eye opener!) just couldn’t get the entire  building in so I took three photographs and merged them.

twisted building

Software: Photoshop

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 14/01/2013 in Photo

 

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Nyl (Nile) floodplain in danger


Threat to Nyl (Nile) river floodplain.

http://www.birdlife.org.za/conservation/iba/152-nylsvley

http://www.birdlife.org.za/support-us

thanks to wiki

thanks to wiki

Once again we are seeing that the government and the majority of the population are allowing money to be the deciding factor in all things.

Now there are plans afoot to have open cast mining in a floodplain which has some serious avian ecological significance.

The Nyl floodplain supports approximately 60% of the breeding population of inland water birds, and during the flooding of the plains it has been recorded that over 80,000 birds are attracted to the floodplain.

The scary thing is that  twenty-three species on the South African Red Data Book-Birds list have been recorded on the floodplain, (Higgins & Rogers, 1993). Of these eight only breed on the floodplain, some breeding nowhere else in Southern Africa.

On a sub continental scale the Nyl River floodplain, when in flood, provides a water bird breeding habitat rivalled only by the Pongola River floodplain in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa and the Okavango delta of Botswana (Higgins et al, 1996). Just imagine if the Okavango Delta was drained so that mining could take place there!

thanks wiki
thanks wiki

RAMSAR CONVENTION.

The Convention on Wetlands was held in Raamsar, Iran in 1971 and from there we have the “Ramsaar Convention” which is an intergovernmental treaty that states that all member countries will and must maintain the ecological character of their international important wetlands. It further states that governments are to plan for the wise or sustainable use of wetlands within their territories.

The Nyl river floodplains have been identified and recognised as a RAMSAR Wetland of International importance.

(RS# – 952, Country – South Africa, Site Name – Nylsvley, Designation – Nature Reserve, Date 6 July 1998)

The proposed mining site falls entirely within the area designated as a nature reserve but this just doesn’t seem to worry anybody.  Once mining starts the entire area will be affected and there will be a loss of habitat and pollution which will be detrimental to the various bird species which use the wetlands for breeding. For those birds on the red list this could be a critical occurrence from which they may never recover. Duration of mining is estimated as being twenty years  so the impact is long term. My concern of the destruction of the habitat is that the birds that are displaced by the mining will not just be assimilated into the surrounding area. The surrounding area already has its own structure and carrying capacity. This means that these birds that have been displace will more than likely die.

The impact that the mine will have on the bird species found in the floodplain doesn’t stand much chance of being reversed.

From previous blogs that I have posted, it would seem that we as South Africans just don’t care a continental damn that open cast mining takes place in areas that supposedly are protected as nature reserves. Consider the unauthorised dune mining near Mtunzini, the dune mining closer to Richards Bay, mining in the Karoo. These are all areas that are protected by various agreements, yet mining is taking place with no real concern as to the impact on the environment. Sure, impact studies are done, and recommendations are made for the rehabilitation / restoring of the flora when the mining is finished. To see that this doesn’t work, you only need to travel on the hi-way between Mtunzini and Richards Bay and see the mess they have made all along the dunes.

I went through the list of birds occurring within the Nyl floodplain and of the 426 bird species (46% of the species found in southern Africa) I recognised a few from my travels, but for the most I admit to being totally ignorant of what they look like. I will remedy this by spending some time with my bird manual – Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa (7th edition)

Some names of birds found in the area :-

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) (red data)

Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

Lesser Gallinule (Porphyrio alleni)

Lesser Moorhen (Gallinula angulate)

Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula)

Rufous bellied Heron (Butorides rufiventris)

Streaky breasted Flufftail  (Sarothrura boehmi)

Baillon’s Crake (Porzana pusilla)

Corncrake (Crex crex)

Striped Crake (Aenigmatolimnas marginalis)

Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)

Great White Egret  (Egretta alba)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Yellow billed Egret (Egretta intermedia)

Squacco Heron ( Ardeola ralloides)

Black crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

African Spoonbill  (Platalea alba)

Southern Pochard  (Netta erythrophthalma)

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) (red data)

Yellow billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) (red data)

Black winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)

sec bird

Secretarybird  (Sagittarius serpentarius) (red data)

Bat Hawk (Macheiramphus alcinus)

White backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)

Burnt necked Eremomela (Eremomela usticollis)

Barred Warbler (Camaroptera fasciolata)

Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)  (disappearing rapidly in South Africa.)

Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres)

Dwarf Bittern (Ixobrychus sturmii)

Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)

Martial Eagles (Polemaetus bellicosus) (red data)

Redcrested Korhaan (Eupodotis ruficrista)

Pied Babbler (Turdoides bicolor)

White throated Robin (Cossypha humeralis)

Kalahari Robin (Erythropygia paean)

Marico Flycatcher (Melaenornis mariquensis)

Crimson breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)

White crowned Shrike (Eurocephalus anguitimens)

Burchell’s Starling (Lamprotornis australis)

White bellied Sunbird  (Nectarinia talatala)

Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) (red data)

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus) (red data)

Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) (red data)

Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) (red data)

Almost every species of South African duck is found here from time to time, some in very large numbers.

I also read that there are tens of thousands of migratory birds that cross over the mine area. This could be a potential hazard during migratory events with the mine being brightly lit at night. Most water birds fly at night. The erection of electrical cables and buildings also poses another problem for migratory birds. This could have both national and international implications if the mine should influence the vast numbers of migratory water birds that use the floodplains.

http://www.birdlife.org.za/conservation/iba/152-nylsvley

http://www.birdlife.org.za/support-us

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 11/01/2013 in Envioronment, Game reserve, Photo, South Africa

 

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