Episode IV – A New Hope

Episode IV because we don’t really count Kgalema Motlanthe. Sorry, Kgalema.
Don’t @ me. 

And so, pushed right to the very edge, refusing to jump, and defiantly telling us that the fall wouldn’t hurt him anyway, JZ finally stepped off into the abyss.

It certainly appears that Zuma is/was rotten to the core. And what becomes of that down the line is yet to be seen. In the meantime, South Africa is celebrating, and with good reason.

But then, perhaps we should remember the positivity with which the new dawn of a Zuma Presidency was viewed back in 2009.

And look how that worked out…

So, while I’m all about hope and optimism, and there’s always that background feeling of “well, he can’t be as bad as what we’ve just been through” (notwithstanding that Thabo topped an estimated 330,000 people through his wonky HIV policies), we do need to go into this with our eyes slightly wider open this time, as we were warned from an Ecuadorian broom cupboard in London almost immediately.

Of course, It’s worth noting that Wikileaks is full of BS and Julian is far from squeaky clean as well. No. I’m not linking. Do your own hard work.

I think the message I’m trying to purvey here is “Keep Smiling, But Trust No-One“.

And not just in politics.

That Monologue

Deeply corrupt President and all-round infected haemorrhoid Jacob Zuma has just refused to resign during his near hour long rambling monologue on SABC.

He says that the ANC has given him no reasons for his recall.

And he’s right. They haven’t.

Because he knows full well that, while there are plenty (or more) of those reasons, the ANC Top 6 et al. can’t publicly talk about them, because then we’d have every good right to ask why on earth they were supporting him right up until last week.

No resignation. He’s going down in flames. And now we’re all wondering who he’s going to take with him.

This was never going to be pretty, but it now seems that it’s going to be uglier than we could ever have imagined.

Delicious.

No-one is reading anyway

I’m busy, and I’ve not had chance to blog yet today. There was a visit to the knee doc (but more of that later), there was a lot of lab work, there was other stuff.

Now it’s lunchtime and it’s become evident that no-one has been bothered to look at 6000.co.za this morning at all.

I put this down to the fact that the political news has been moving at a breakneck speed here in SA, and people are choosing to try to keep up with that rather than keep up with their favourite blog.

Fair enough…

Wait… what?

But if you’re not going to read, I don’t see why I should waste my time writing.

Shall we try again tomorrow once he’s gone? [audience laughs]

What? It might happen.
This country never fails to amaze me (not always for the right reasons) (but still…).

The Blame Game

OK. Here goes. I rarely do “opinion” posts on the blog any more because there’s rarely anything I feel strongly enough about to be bothered to wade through mentions on Twitter, comments on here, insults flung at me on my journey to and from work and hate mail delivered to my home address three months later via the SAPO.

But I feel I need to say something.

I’ve been  watching the Cape Town water crisis with interest for a long while now. I’ve blogged about it an awful lot. And while “crisis” seemed a strong word 25 months ago when water restrictions were first introduced, we’re now staring down the barrel of a rather terrifying gun, with fewer than 100 days left until Day Zero – the day the taps will be turned off.

An entire city of 4 MILLION residents is going to run out of water in just 3 months time. And yet, a quick glance at the City’s Water Dashboard gives us this picture:

What, if I may be so bold, the actual fandango?

Just 39% of residents are using fewer than 87l water per person per day. That’s frankly appalling, and it shows a huge disregard and/or misunderstanding for the gravity of the situation.

You think that showering with a bucket is inconvenient? (It can be, I agree.)

But when Day Zero arrives:
There will be no water in your home. None.
Literally nothing will come out of your taps.

Want water? Go to one of the ±200 city-wide collection points and queue for it. 25 litres per person per day.
25 litres of water weighs 25kg, by the way. Transport that, mate. Every single day.

Businesses will be forced to close.
Closed business = no income = staff being laid off.
Schools won’t be able to open, creating a childcare nightmare for parents, and an educational nightmare for schools and students.

And Day Zero won’t last a day. The biggest misnomer since Pussy Galore, right there. Day Zero is when it starts.
Brace yourself for 3-6 months of no water supply.

Sadly, if scare tactics – or “the truth” as most people call it – worked, we’d already be doing a lot better than we are.

But I digress. This paragraph from David Olivier’s independent report on the current crisis has stuck with me:

Blame shifting, fault finding and panic are usual reactions to water crises all over the world. Some anxiety is good, as it motivates water saving, but blame shifting actually pushes responsibility away, and causes water wastage. The best attitude Cape Town’s people can adopt is for every person to do their best, together.

(emphasis by me)

This isn’t a political post. Absolutely not. I have no party axe to grind. But it does seem to me that there is a blame culture which has flourished in recent weeks. People saying that this water crisis has been poorly-managed by the City.

My personal feeling is that they’ve done ok considering the lack of any precedent here and the 20/20 hindsight that their detractors are blessed with. I think any city, any government, any party would have struggled with the challenge of a 1 in 1000 climatic event:

And I’m always intrigued to hear what the critics would have done differently.

But those are just my thoughts. Other opinions are available.
And, as I’m about to point out, none of that actually matters anyway.

I think David is absolutely right: this blame game has given people a convenient scapegoat which in turn has led to them choosing to ignore what, in this situation, are very clearly their social responsibilities.

So here’s my plan.

Blame and anger don’t contribute to our water supply. That’s not how the water supply works.

You can’t drink outrage.

If you want to stick it to Patricia de Lille, the City, the DA, the Provincial Government, the National Government or whomsoever, then next time your opportunity to vote comes around, you must do just that.
That’s how democracy works. Literally, the power of the people.

(Remember to choose wisely, just in case this happens again.)

But attempting to spite any or all of those individuals or bodies by refusing to cut down on your water usage is misguided and isn’t going to help anyone. Even yourself.

Spoiler alert:
Your political affiliations and opinions are not an excuse to not save water.

It’s time (it was time a long while back, actually) to put on your big boy panties, take a step back (and up) and choose to overlook the petty politics right now.
Deal with stuff that later.

Right now, collectively, we need to reach out to that missing two-thirds of residents who are still using too much water – the Day Zero denialists, the monied individuals in Bishopscourt, the Observatory anarchists, the tannies in Pinelands with their precious lawns, that oke in Durbanville that just doesn’t care – and rein them in. And if they want to moan all over the newspapers and social media and and and… about us doing it, well they must knock themselves out.
Just as long as they’re saving water while they’re doing it. Because if they don’t come to the party, we’re very definitely doomed.

I’m aware that this is pie in the sky thinking. I’m aware that if people actually cared about this situation, they’d be saving already. But just imagine if the residents worked with the City instead of pointlessly fighting the system (“pointlessly” because as I’ve pointed out – using water just because you hate the DA is a recipe for disaster), fiddling as Rome burns.

If you’re one of those individuals I’ve mentioned above, you’ve probably not read this far. But on the off-chance that you have, for the good of everyone: rich, poor, black, white, young and old please can you please start saving some water?

We need to pull together here. Or we’re all massively, massively buggered.

 

(Don’t @ me.)

Less shit candidate wins

A nation breathed a collective sigh of relief today as it emerged that the less shit of two candidates for an important job had won the election for the position.

Many people had been concerned that the more shit candidate was going to win but thankfully, that turned out not to be the case.

Sadly for those celebrating, they were so delighted that the less shit candidate won, they carelessly overlooked the fact that he was actually also shit, albeit apparently slightly less shit than the second placed candidate.

Thus, it seems like the nation has gone from one frying pan to another, and will likely now burn slowly and painfully rather than crasing directly into the waiting fire.