They’re building my rocket

Here’s a picture I snapped in the traffic on the way to work yesterday.

Many of you will be thinking that I was trying to catch the slightly spooky mammatus clouds over Koeberg Interchange, juxtaposed against the startlingly bright peachy morning sky to the north.
But you’d only be partially correct.

No – this is to show readers that as part of the ongoing Koeberg Interchange revamp, the Province has finally bowed to my demands for a rocket in order that I don’t have to spend hours each day sitting in the traffic.
While the plebs will be stuck on the new bridge to the N1 (you can see one of the supports on the left), I will be launched in my rocket (under construction, right) to (hopefully) land near my destination in record time.

The only flaw in my otherwise brilliant plan is the election next week, at which it is widely expected that Helen Zille and the DA will capture the Western Cape. Their Transport, Public Works and Public Accounts bloke, Robin Carlisle, was on the radio last night saying that if the DA did win the Province, he would cut back on wasteful expenditure in roads and road-building projects.
I think some may feel that my rocket falls into that bracket.

Thus, I have instructed my workers to get a move on and finish it before next Wednesday. Blast off!

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:

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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.

You wouldn’t let it lie…

I remain bedridden on doctor’s orders. One of the things about working with TB is that you don’t play with it when you’re not feeling 100%.
It tends to note your weakness and leaps into your respiratory tract, where it annoys the neighbours by holding late night parties. And killing you.

Being stuck here means that I have borne witness to just one source of reaction to the NPA decision to drop the charges against Zuma – the mobile internet, namely twitter and facebook. And what drama! What hysteria!
Why?
I have two answers: a mild case of shared Münchausen’s Syndrome and a media (and various political parties) which have caused certain sections of the population to believe that the moment Zuma comes to power, South Africa will fall, irretrievably into ruin.
No.

I do not understand what these people hope to achieve by spreading these sensational stories. Of course, everyone has their own agenda and we have an election just around the corner, but as with Trevor Mallach fake letter, let people vote based on FACTS, not on SPIN.
As I mentioned yesterday, the best thing for SA now would be to move on and let this issue lie. But of course, I understand that that option is not viable for some people and parties.
The irony is that they think that their political meddling in the justice system is somehow different from the political meddling in the justice system which prompted JZ’s legal eagles to meddle, possibly politically, in the justice system.

There was never going to be an easy way out of this, and no matter how aggrieved Helen Zille and the DA feel right now, they must realise that others would have felt equally outraged had the NPA decision gone the other way.

The only good thing about what happened today is that we briefly knew where we stood. A moment of clarity, if you will. There was the opportunity for closure, which has already been lost:

@helenzille The decision to drop the charges against Zuma is irrational and unlawful. We will not stand back and let this happen. http://tiny.cc/P4jB6

Not that I am blaming Helen Zille – she has her beliefs and she must stand up for them. Sadly, as this story continues to run, I see only more damage and more harm and hurt on the road ahead.

In times of turmoil, one must look for the simple pleasures in life. Better get back to sucking my Fisherman’s Friend, then. Certainly clears the passages and he seems to enjoy it too.

Written on my Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. In bed.
With a Fisherman’s Friend. Nice.

“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.

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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.