George Bush is Dead

Well – not really.
But if you were watching the pisspoor South African Sky-wannabe eTV News (or more especially, their annoying little rolling banner thing across the bottom of the screen) then you would have seen those exact words on your TV.

The “misbroadcast” happened when a technician pressed the “broadcast live for transmission” button instead of the one for a test-run.

“The technical director pressed the wrong button, it took a second for the words to appear and then the words were on screen for only three seconds before they were taken off,” said spokesman Vasili Vass.

The station said test banners would now be done in “gobbledegook”.

Given the general standard spelling on their rolling banner, quite how they are going to separate the gobbledegook from the real stuff is a complete mystery to me and their other viewer.

The mistake was first reported on by the Afrikaans language newspaper Beeld, and on the media group’s website, News24.com.
“Its unfortunate, because we never comment on their mistakes,” said Mr Vass.  

Well, of course not. You’re only a 24 hour news channel.
Take on that sort of onerous responsibility and you’d never have time to tell us about ex-world leaders popping their clogs. Or not.

How many nurses?

My plans to post an entry each day in February seem to have been somewhat derailed by a HTTP 500 INTERNAL SERVER ERROR, which is denying me access to 6000.co.za and also to the dashboard and inner workings of the site where the wonderful milky prose you come to lap up each day is created and stored. Serves me right for using that cheap deal with the servers in South Australia, I guess.
Thus, it’s back to basics and I’m writing this up using MS Notepad. Ah – the memories. None of them good.

And phew – whatever gremlin was playing about with the important stuff that makes the site work has now given up and gone to the pub, or been burned, or whatever. And I’m back. Although, I guess it was all pretty seamless for you, so I’ll just make the font look a bit funny so that you can be reminded of how I suffered to bring you this. There we go.

As I write, Jeff Randall is tearing into Barclays boss, Bob Diamond, on Sky News.
The main thrust of Randall’s argument seems to be somehow related to the £22 million which Mr Diamond received in bonuses last year. I can never decide whether Jeff is really on the side of the man on the street as he claims: “That’s about 1000 times what an average NHS nurse earns – do you think you’re worth 1000 NHS nurses?”.
It’s a typically unfair and unnecessarily emotive kind of question. Exactly what Sky News is paying him for.
Because of course, it seems likely that Jeff Randall also earns significantly more than the average NHS nurse (albeit not as much as Bob Diamond).

But how much?

Well, I don’t know, but his previous time at The Telegraph and the BBC surely means that he can’t have been cheap. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that he’s pocketing well into seven figures. So I wonder how many nurses Mr Randall thinks he is worth. Mr Diamond hasn’t actually asked him that, but he must be tempted. Or maybe he did and it was edited out*. After all, Jeff is supposed to be on our side and such hypocrisy wouldn’t look good.

Incidentally, I am worth at least 20 average NHS nurses. In addition, I don’t sleep with junior doctors, lose important specimens or give patients the wrong drugs.
I even wash my hands once in a while, which is more than any of them do.
If my boss is reading, please sort out some sort of remuneration package reflective of this. And backdate it.
Do this now.

 * A large chunk of today’s Jeff Randall Live was actually pre-recorded.

Malema speaks sense

Surely some mistake?

But no. After the latest in the Jacob Zuma trial, as the case was put back (again) to August 2009 – significantly on the other side of the general election –  our friend Julius said:  

When Zuma comes back to court in August he will come back as the president of this country and the judges will have to address him as the president.
I just want to ask those who are behind this case if they would be proud to prosecute their own president, and embarrass their own country.

Well, when it comes to embarrassing the country, Julius – you’re the expert.
Anyway, “Mr President” only has one more syllable than “Mr Zuma”. I’m sure m’learned friends will er… Cope.

So it looks like we’re all going to have red faces, then. Unless, of course, you’re right with this bit:

When we campaign we must campaign as if there are no charges against Zuma.
We must undermine these charges because they think that they will stop us.

In which case, with Zuma as President, “they” will have failed to stop “you” and will probably just give up. Probably.

Chappies to open for Argus?

I’m not a big fan of cyclists, generally. They clog up the local roads, ignore red traffic signals, weave and wobble all over the place and then moan when you hit them. Yes, some of my best friends are cyclists, but we know that if civilities are to be maintained during a braai or social curry, then the subject of cycling is best avoided.

It doesn’t help living in Cape Town, where the Cape Argus Cycle Tour – the largest timed cycling event in the world – takes place each autumn. Sure, it’s “just a day”, but there’s all the road closures, detours and damn lycra everywhere. And all the parlance in all the local pubs is about “going sub-three” and stuff. (I was hugely disappointed when I found out that this was time to do the race and not metres underwater.)

But now, taking over the entire peninsular for a weekend and more is not enough. They want Chapman’s Peak Drive reopened for them for the day. “Because they’re special”…

photo: Hubert January on Flickr.
Chapman’s Peak Drive, ruining a mountain recently.

I should explain. Chapman’s Peak Drive or “Chappies” is a stunning road cut into the cliffs between Hout Bay and Noordhoek with some of the most amazing views in the world (personally, I prefer the R44 south out of Gordon’s Bay, but anyway…). But with cliff cuttage comes rock fallage. Fortunately, the (allegedly corrupt) Entilini company who built and now operate the toll road knew about this and put big nets up to catch the rocks which would otherwise squash the cars. These are called catchfences (the biggest misnomer since Pussy Galore) and they don’t work. That’s why Chappies has been closed since heavy winter rains last year made it too dangerous for cars and buses and lorries and people to go along the 9km route.

But not for 35,000 cyclists in March, apparently. No. They are invincible (except when in contact with motor vehicles) and thus, falling rocks pose absolutely no danger to them at all. And so they want Chapman’s Peak reopened for them. For the day.

Never mind the poor souls who live in Noordhoek and Kommetjie who have had to add an extra 40kms onto their journeys into Cape Town for the past 6 months. Entilini (who helpfully get paid by the Province whether they are collecting tolls or not) have consistently ignored their desperate pleas to reopen the road. “No,” say Entilini, “it’s unsafe! Rocks and stuff. Gravity. Squashed car. Lawsuit. See?”
But it looks like they’re going to open it up just so the visiting Jo’burg lycra brigade can have their jollies on March 8th. If I lived in Noordhoek, I’d picket, toyi-toyi and block the road*.

The announcement was promised last night and, because it’s being made by the Province, will actually be made this afternoon. And if it’s a yes, it will be a big two fingers up to the local residents, at which point, maybe we should be asking what Entilini stand to gain from the deal. Because otherwise – why would they open an unsafe road for 35,000 potential targets?

EDIT: And, as widely predicted on this blog, they have opened Chappies for the Argus. Shock.

What a disgrace. As Kaiser Chiefs once said: I predict a riot. Although knowing the gentle folk of Noordhoek, perhaps it will just be a stern letter to whoever will listen.
Presumably, on Monday 9th March, it will suddenly become “too dangerous” again and be closed for another 6 months.

* This is what I would do if I lived in Noordhoek and does not amount to incitement to violence.

Should Expats be able to vote?

With an election imminent, as with any political party in any country, each of the political parties in SA is working out how best to maximise their chances of not losing too heavily to the ANC. Apart from the ANC, of course. Their tactic seems to be to not give a toss what happens because they’re going to win anyway.

Such is democracy.

Botox Queen Helen Zille’s DA (the Desperate Alternative) and Pieter Mulder’s FF+ (which is actually a political party and not a remedy for period pain) have launched separate court actions in Cape Town and Pretoria respectively to try and change the rules so that South Africans living overseas can vote in the upcoming ballot. And, since these are “white” parties and the majority of expats also fall neatly into that racial demographic, presumably for them.
One would imagine they’ve done their sums and worked out that the expat vote would be a “good thing” for their numbers, anyway. That would be a mighty own goal otherwise. Jacob Zuma would kill himself laughing.
Maybe that’s the plan.

So, should South Africans living and working abroad be allowed to vote in the SA elections?

No. They shouldn’t.

I should be allowed to vote here though. I’m a permanent resident here. I’ve lived here for five years. Paid taxes here for five years. So give me their vote. I promise to use it wisely (if not quite as they might have done).
The ironic thing is that I can still vote in the UK, despite not living there or having even stepped on British soil for over two years. I choose not to though. I think that I gave up that privilege when I made the decision to come and live here in Cape Town. And so it should be with those who have chosen to leave Cape Town – or wherever and head off to the UK – or wherever.

Don’t get me wrong. People like Gabrielle Johannes (does she mean renounced and not denounced, by the way?), currently annoying people in South West London on a two-year working visa, are not the ones I’m talking about. If you are overseas “temporarily” – like on a 2-year visa – then I’m all for your rights. Although, there’s always the counter argument that you knew the rules when you left the country and you still chose to go. Why moan now?

But if that also means that Frikkie van der Merwe who left SA in – let’s choose a year at random here – say 1994, also has the right to vote this year, then something has gone very wrong with the system.
And if that means that you renounce your South African citizenship (or at least that aspect of it) when you choose to move abroad – well, so be it. I have seen too many SA expats who rely solely on dodgy news sites with dodgy reporters and dodgy agendas for their information about South Africa. That those ill-informed individuals should get the opportunity to influence the future of the country is plain wrong.

As it is, whether Helen and Pieter’s court cases are successful or not will almost certainly have very little bearing on the outcome of the election. But it’s nice that they have suddenly realised that they want to campaign for the disenfranchised masses overseas. In an election year.

Who’d have thunk it?