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Photos at Union Building


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Posted by on 11/05/2013 in Photo, South Africa

 

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Photographs on Sunday


On Sunday morning I grabbed my camera kit and headed out to the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary.

It is only 15kms from where I live but I dont get to go there as often as I would like to. The weather was constantly changing between sunlight and overcast which played havoc with my settings. There were quite a few people in the hide by the time I arrived. One lady who was visiting from Holland told me that she was very involved in setting up the sanctuary way back in the early 70’s.

Will upload more pictures later in the day

Whitefaced Duck (dendrocygna viduata)

Whitefaced Duck (dendrocygna viduata)

 

Southern Crowned Crane (balearica regulorum)

Southern Crowned Crane (balearica regulorum)

Knob Billed Duck (sarkidiornis melanotas)

Knob Billed Duck (sarkidiornis melanotas)

Egyptian Goose (alopochen aegyptiacus)

Egyptian Goose (alopochen aegyptiacus)

Blacksmith Plover (vanellus armatus)

Blacksmith Plover (vanellus armatus)

 

 
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Posted by on 25/02/2013 in Envioronment, Game reserve, Photo, South Africa

 

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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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Endless work on our hi-ways


For the last few years we have had constant work being done to the road surface of the hi-way between Pretoria and Johannesburg/Randburg.

It seems that just as they finish doing all the patching up of the supposedly new surfaces, theystart 005all over again as if it is sheltered employment!

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say there are thousands of small pebbles being flung up by the cars using the hi-way. This can be seen in the bright specks in the photo. It is now the second time that a stone has been flicked up and found it’s way to damaging the radiator thus causing it to leak. I got home with my temp gauge warning light on for the last 40kms and coolant oozing out between the fins of the radiator.

Being a BMW Dakar, obtaining an original radiator at a good price is just not possible. So now I will be scouting out all the salvage companies to see if they may any second-hand ones for sale at a price I can afford.

It is sad to think that the hi-way which they intend to toll, is really in a very bad state already!

 
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Posted by on 07/12/2012 in Children

 

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Barbarians!


Barbarians!

Today is just my day for bitching I suppose.

In this morning’s news there is an article which got me thinking on the barbaric methods used to kill or mutilate rhinos in the last while. The article this morning reported on the rustling of ten head of cattle from a farm just east of Pretoria, South Africa.

The cattle were driven a total of 20 kms towards a township, Daveyton, where the rustlers then proceed to use pangas (a broad heavy knife of E African origin, used as a tool or weapon) to hack the  large tendon at the point of the hock which then means the animal is totally unable to stand on its hind legs.  (This was also used by the Mau Mau in Kenya some years ago. They did this deliberately to cattle owned by white people.)

Then they proceeded to stab the cows with knives hoping to kill them.

What is even more horrific is that they started to hack pieces of flesh off while the cows were still alive! This was obviously done as speed was of the essence, and they could then just disappear into the township with their ill-gotten gains.

The police who arrived at the sight phoned the farmer and informed him of the situation. The farmer then made his way to the sight where he hoped to be able to at least save some of the meat for use on his farm. On his arrival he found nearly 150 of the local population armed with bowls and knives, cutting off chunks of meat for themselves. When the farmer started loading the carcasses the locals started swearing and shouting at him wanting to know what right he had to remove them.

It seems that if something gets stolen from you the right of ownership is also transferred to whoever is then in possession of it!

To date only 3 people have been arrested for being in possession of stolen meat. They say they just happened on the carcasses and thought it would be better not to waste the meat, so they helped themselves. No rustlers have been arrested.  

 

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Hold it straight


While going through some photographs on my hard drive I came across this one of a very old fountain which is situated in the Pretoria Zoological gardens. It had been donated by a very wealthy business man Sammy Marks in the late 1800’s.

The subsequent photograph I took was nice and straight with the fountain set more to the side using all the normal rule of thirds and is a keeper.

But what if there was only this photograph, and I wasn’t blessed with having software that could straighten it? Would I be happy having to turn my head at angles to see what my photographs looks like in real life?

It is all a case of getting right back to the basics we all learn when we first pick up a camera. Hold it straight and make sure that when you press the shutter button you don’t move the camera. This is so basic, but after a while we become so complacent, that we become ‘sloppy’ and actually forget to apply all we have learnt.

When I started out using a digital camera I was told that the best thing for me to learn, was that every time I picked up a camera I must go through a routine of checking what settings I had last left the camera on, and if everything was okay, then check if I was holding the camera right, and IS THE PICTURE IN MY VIEWFINDER STRAIGHT!

As can be seen in the above picture I didn’t apply what I have done thousands of times before. The end result is not what I expected, and not something that is worth keeping any  more.

Here’s to your pictures being straight, and the light just right!

 

 

 
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Posted by on 25/05/2012 in Photo

 

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What waste?


I heard on the news this week that unemployment here in sunny South Africa is currently running at 72% which means that my tax is supporting a hell of a lot of people!

But in all this we still manage to create a sizable workforce which doesn’t really contribute to the productivity of our economy.

The current government/municipal authorities are still hell bent on changing street names so that they reflect names of those that were involved in the “struggle”. I have included a list of street names changing in Pretoria for those that live there or need to travel to the other side of the Boerewors Curtain. Personally I don’t know the majority of the names and when I asked my Black colleagues to help me they actually did worse than what I had done!

The bottom line here is that the changing of the names is costing the ratepayers of Pretoria more than R26 million! On the one hand we have the council complaining that they don’t have any funds available for upgrading some of the essential services that are desperately needed in some of the previously disadvantaged communities yet they have funds to waste on a street name change exercise. 

  I would rather have running water, sewerage that works and doesn’t flood the street on a daily basis, the garbage being collected, removal of road kill etc, than knowing I now live in Kgosi Mampuru street and no longer in Potgieter street.

The picture below shows how the municipality is doing there part against unemployment. A quick count seems to have at least 25 (yes twenty five!!) laborer’s involved with the placing of red tape over the old street name. There is also one truck in the background for transporting this crowd to the next street name pole. So the council should be commended for doing their part, and putting food on the tables of all the families. They mustn’t lose any sleep over the fact that my monthly contribution to their coffers to pay for the street name change and a very productive work force, is removing food from my table, and that I must now explain to the kids why they are hungry when going to bed.  (Not yet, but if we carry on it will be so 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

OLD NAME NEW NAME
Andries Street Thabo Sehume
Beatrix Street Steve Biko
Charles Street Justice Mohammed
Church Street – From Nelson Mandela Church Square Helen Joseph
Church Street – From Nelson Mandela to R511 WF Nkomo
Church Street – From Nelson Mandela to the East Stanza Bopape
Church Street – From R511 to West Elias Motswaledi
DF Malan Drive E’skia Mphahlele
Duncan Street Jan Shoba
Esselen Street Robert Sobukwe
Genl Louis Botha Drive January Masilela
Hans Strijdom Drive Solomon Mahlangu
Hendrik Verwoerd Drive Johan Heyns
Jacob Mare Street Jeff Masemola
Leah Mangope Street Peter Mogano
Lucas Mangope Street Molefe Makinta
Mears Street Steve Biko
Michael Brink Street Nico Smith
Mitchell Street Charlotte Maxeke
Potgieter Street Kgosi Mampuru
Prinsloo Street Sisulu
Proes Street Johannes Ramokhoase
Queen Wilhelmina Drive Florence Ribeiro
Schoeman Street Frances Baard
Schubart Street Sophie de Bruyn
Skinner Street Nana Sita
Van der Walt Street Lilian Ngoyi
Vermeulen Street Madiba
Voortrekker Street Steve Biko
Walker Street Justice Mohammed
Zambezi Drive Sefako Makgatho

With these changes I wonder who decided to split Church Street into 4 different names?

We already have a Nelson Mandela so why now have a Madiba street? And Madiba isn’t the real name for Nelson Mandela either!

 

 
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Posted by on 16/05/2012 in South Africa

 

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