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:-
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…
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.
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.”
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
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