Voting abroad – a good idea?

No.

With Election Day less than a week away, yesterday was the day on which South Africans living, working or visiting overseas were able to make their vote count.
It’s been a contentious issue, with the DA and VF+ camapigning vigourously for the right of overseas Saffas to vote, then having to suffer the indignity of a tiny number that actually bothered to register to do so (7,472 out the approximately 600,000 in the UK).

While I respect that it is the Constitutional right of those overseas to have their say, I don’t agree with it. The information that is disseminated out from SA is often overly negative, incorrect and highly subjective and unless you are willing to really dig deep to find out the facts, I can’t see how you can make an informed, valid choice on the issues at hand. However, when I tried to point this out, I was told in no uncertain terms by commentors that of course they knew exactly what was going on in SA and they couldn’t wait to have their say. I was wrong, apparently. Ha!

To cut a long story short, a great fanfare was made (especially in London) about the “massive numbers” of those knowledgable people who turned out to make their democratic mark. And here’s the front page photo from The Times this morning showing just a few of those people (who know all about South Africa), queuing to vote:

20090415175041expats_matt_dunham_ap
Knowledgable voters wait to vote

Erm… ladies, I know you know all there is to know about SA and everything, but isn’t that flag a bit… upside down?

NPA-like, I rest my case.

Zapiro – who can I annoy this time?

After the whole “Zuma raping Justice” cartoon furore, things have died down a little for rogue cartoonist Jonathan “Zapiro” Shapiro. We’ve hearly heard a peep from him over the last few months. What a pleasure.
So it was about time he came up with a plan to irritate some group or other and get himself back into the headlines. But – devoid of ideas and inspiration and with a shortened deadline due to a major religious holiday, what was he supposed to do?

The answer was obvious: rehash some contentious old stuff and add a touch of spice by throwing in some religious imagery – a surefire hit after the big Sax Appeal rumpus.

The result:

This cartoon removed at the
request of Zapiro’s legal team
6000, September 2009

Zapiro’s latest offering from mg.co.za

So: ANC factions nailing Jesus Justice to the cross while the NPA washes it’s hands of the affair under Zuma’s shower. All just in time for Easter.

Yep – that should last him another few weeks.

A quick mishmash

OK – because of the impending Liverpool versus Chelsea game, together with a daughter that really didn’t want to go to sleep this evening, I’m left with approximately 8 minutes to blog.

Part One: Two bands pull out of Coke Zero Fest.

Bullet for my Valentine and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, two of the headline acts for the Coca-Cola Zero Fest 2009, have pulled out at the last minute. Studio commitments to complete their new studio album and personnel changes were given as reasons for the late cancellations.

Two days notice. Utterly disgusting. Don’t bother coming back – I wasn’t looking forward to hearing your hits… erm… whatever those hits were. I can’t even be arsed to google.
If I’m honest, I was going to use your sets to queue for a burger with everyone else who was using your sets to queue for a burger.
Oh – but also thank you, because, in order to fulfill their promise of 12 hours of music on Easter Monday, the organisers have organised the real professional bands who everyone was wanting to see (Panic! at the Disco, Snow Patrol and Oasis) to deliver “extended performances”. Get in.

Part Two: Quota photo, as supplied from here, via here.


Alan Aubry – Down Memory Lane

The set features self protraits of Alan at various places (mainly) in and around Cape Town.
Very unusual and very cool. And somehow the remote cable only adds to it.

The one above is my favourite and only works because the horizon meets the frame at exactly halfway.

“Zuma Free”

… with every R100 spent.

Not really, obviously. That would just be silly.

But an air of despondency and self-pity has settled over many of the more dramatic South Africans on the internet this morning. That’s because of this headline in today’s Sunday Times.

maincover-0504
JZ: Free

Unsurprisingly, I have a few remarks to make on this.
Firstly, that this has been coming for an awful long time. These people should really have got used to it by now. So quite where the shock and the outrage has come from, I’m not sure. Presumably, they’ve been living in a tent in the Karoo for the past 6 months. “Welcome back”, I guess.
Secondly, this is a report in the Sunday Times. Now, I know that it’s a bit of a pain, but I prefer to wait until the following week before passing comment on Sunday Times‘  stories. That’s just to give the editor time to print a retraction and an apology, together with the worthless assurance that it won’t happen again. Why weren’t they up in arms last week when iol.co.za reported: “Zuma Charges to be Dropped“?
Thirdly, the official NPA announcement (for what it’s worth) is due tomorrow at 10:30. If you want real pity, then Monday morning is always a good time to get it. Everyone’s in a bit of a sombre mood anyway and ready to join in a nice session of mutual commiseration.

It’s Monday and our President-in-waiting isn’t being charged with corruption. And it’s raining. And petrol went up last week. And the dog’s ill. And we lost the cricket. And Spar only had green bananas. And…

Finally, despite all these people wanting Zuma “to have his day in court”, they have already reached their verdict long ago. I mean, obviously, he’s guilty, isn’t he? Isn’t he? Why else would he be fighting at every possible stage to stop the case going to court? Proof of guilt, isn’t it?
Well, put yourself in JZ’s position for a moment. Let’s just suppose that you or I were charged with fraud or corruption or money-laundering or racketeering for a moment. Or even all four. And let’s say, just for the sake of this example, that you were innocent of those crimes. I don’t know about you, but I would be doing everything possible to get those charges against me dropped as soon as possible. I’d be taking every legal step I could. Wouldn’t you? Of course you would, particularly if you felt the system was primed to work against you.

With the NPA announcement tomorrow that they’re going to drop the charges (as we’re expecting), this matter could be finished. Nothing more to be said or done. Of course, unsatisfactory for some, yes. But you’re never going to please all of the people, all of the time. The justice system has not been raped, although many would like you to believe it has. But then, many of those people still believe that JZ is guilty of rape, despite his acquittal three years ago. So what is their word worth, anyway?

There was never going to be an easy way out of this mess. But if South Africa is ever going to move forward, there had to be some route taken. Much like petulant football players chasing the referee after a dodgy offside decision, moaning about it is futile. There will be no change of mind, no disallowed goal; you are merely prolonging the story for no real reason, save the detriment of the country – which helps no-one.  

Time to move on, SA.

Look out Zuma!

OK, so he may have other things on his mind today, but Jacob Zuma must also now face the fact that ex-pats are going to be voting in the April 22nd election, as predicted in 6000 miles… January 27th post.

Following court applications by opposition parties (namely the DA and the VF+), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) backed down on its initial refusal to allow ex-pat voting and – as long as interested people overseas registered their interest by the end of March – allowed them to vote.

Well, the numbers are out and Jacob Zuma and the ANC must be quaking in their boots. A total of 16,300 people are now registered to vote overseas. Assuming a reasonable turnout on the day of say, 50%, that’s about 8,000 votes shared mainly (presumably, anyway) between the DA and VF+. Scary numbers, indeed.

Yes, yes. I recognise that this was an exercise in exercising one’s rights, but honestly, what an utterly pathetic waste of time and money: like the political version of Earth Hour.
I am completely unsurprised that the parties involved have failed to mention the numbers, because frankly, they’re embarrassing. Compare and contrast their response with their spin about “standing up for voters’ constitutional rights” and the fanfare when they won the court ruling over the IEC. You can’t spin figures this poor.

I’m putting this one down as an own goal of note.