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?

“Playing Table Tennis”

The Molton Brown Boys monthly curry evening was moved forward this month to the 15th. This was due to the Tall Accountant having Chicken Labrador* withdrawal symptoms because we canceled the December meet. Well, I say it was him – I think we were all suffering and when TA just suggested we moved things a fortnight earlier, we jumped at the chance. 

But now this leaves us all with a gaping hole in our hectic social calendars for this week. So the suggestion of a Table Tennis Evening was vaunted at the recent meet.

I watched bewildered, befuddled and bemused as these plans were made in front of my Jhal Frezi and Mint Paratha. But, seeing the enthusiasm and gusto with which the offer was taken up by everyone around the table, I quickly worked out that a “Table Tennis Evening” was actually a codeword for… well… something else. So obviously, I quickly signed up too. Trouble is, I’m actually not sure what for.

Look, I could just go along to the assigned meeting place at the assigned time on the assigned evening and then see how things go.
But… what’s the dress code?
How much cash will I need?
Should I bring drinks? And if so – what? Powerade? Beer? Uitkyk 15-year-old potstill brandy?

 

Obviously, I have asked, but I always get the same sort of replies: “We’re going to play table tennis,” or “Bring your normal table tennis gear”. But was that a nudge and a wink down the phoneline? Are they assuming that I know more than I do or are we, a group of six 30-something, professional men, going to actually… play table tennis?

The answer, of course, is to prepare for every eventuality (perhaps barring “Gay Disco”) and to head out with an open mind, a wallet full of notes and a boot full of drinks and clothes. Unless, in the interim, anyone can decipher what “Playing Table Tennis” really means.

Please?

* never ceases to amuse.

Malema: the future of SA

Of all the things that will come with a Jacob Zuma presidency, perhaps none is quite so scary as the prospect of ANCYL Leader Julius Malema holding any position of authority.
While I am not a fan of the constant ZumaRumas™ which are regularly circulated by antagonistic, hysterical whities with racist agendas*, the thought of Malema being allowed near anything or anyone important fills me with dread.
The mechanic that serviced my car last week looked a bit like him and now my air-con has packed up. I recognise this is no reflection on Mr Malema himself per se, but it just seemed horribly appropriate and thus I felt I should include it here. 

I am also not a fan of radio stations doing prank phone calls. For me, just because someone is (in)famous, doesn’t mean that one should be able to ring them up out of the blue, imitating some other person, confuse and embarrass them and then broadcast it for all to hear. However, I’m going to make an exception here, as “Whackhead” from Highveld 94.7 in Jo’burg calls Julius Malema (via his PA) and “chats” to him.
While pretending to be Barack Obama.

Listen and weep:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MbvTksmdg]

For me, the scariest bit is that Malema fails to actually say anything.
Is he overawed? Is he confused? Does he even know who Mr Obama is? 
Can Julius Malema get out anything more than mumbled, one word answers while talking to the most powerful man on the planet?

No, he can’t!

I know it’s not a fair situation to judge someone on, but please, for the love of all that is holy, couldn’t he have embarrassed himself by at least chatting to “Mr Obama”, perhaps congratulating him on his election victory, hypocritically spending $150 million on a big party, maybe talking about his visions for Africa – ANYTHING!
Just not “yebo” and “ugh”. Those are not the words of a competent politician.
But those are the words of Julius Malema.

* As Thabo Mbeki (remember him?) said last week, “It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our country.”

SA’s UK Drug Hell!

Or should that be UK’s SA Drug Hell?


SAA: powered by weed (allegedly)

As fifteen flight and cabin crew from the daily SAA Jo’burg to Heathrow flight were arrested after 50kg of cannabis was found on board, South African rugby player Matt Stevens, now living and “working” in Bath, UK, failed a drugs test and looks set to be banned from the sport for two years.  

Stevens has admitted to taking “a substance” “while out with friends” and admits he has a drug problem, although he insists that they were not performance enhancing drugs. Anyone who has been watching his recent performances won’t be surprised by that assertion.
Obviously, they were recreational drugs, and probably imported from Jo’burg.

Which brings us neatly onto the SAA arrests, and I’m pretty sure they’ve got the wrong people. Anyone who has ever flown SAA will testify that they never send baggage to the right place. I’m pretty sure that 50kg of weed was meant to go to Miami or Sydney or Athens.
Perhaps the police in those cities should be looking at the incoming SAA flight crews and see which ones are nervously searching in the galley cupboards and looking confused. There’s your suspects.

Is Zuma appealing?

Well, not to a lot of people as our future President anymore, since fraud and corruption charges were re-instated against him yesterday, following the National Prosecuting Authority’s successful appeal against Zuma’s previous appeal to get the charges against him dropped was overturned.

It remains to be seen whether, having considered the NPA’s successful appeal against Zuma’s successful appeal against the NPA, whether Zuma will now appeal (possibly successfully) against the NPA’s successful appeal which overturned Zuma’s previously successful appeal against the NPA. If he were to successfully appeal, it seems likely that the NPA would appeal that decision. Well, why not?

It’s pure comedy, isn’t it? And add to that the improbable names of Zuma’s lawyer, Kemp J Kemp, and the NPA’s spokesman Tlali Tlali (which isn’t pronounced like you think it should be) and it gets even sillier.  

Many, including FF+ leader Pieter Mulder, are now calling for charges against Zuma to be dropped and some sort of “agreement” to be reached. (I wonder where he got that idea from?)
One only has to look at the effect yesterday’s judgment had on the exchange rates to see that this case has much wider-reaching implications than the freedom (or otherwise) of our dear Msholozi. It’s harming the country and something needs to be done to halt the damage before it’s too late.
For many people, the ideal solution would be JZ stepping down as the ANC leader and presidential candidate before the election in Autumn. That’s not going to happen though. Too many people stand to gain too much to allow something as trivial as fraud and corruption charges and the wreckage of what was once South Africa’s shining reputation to get in the way.

And so, it comes down to a settlement to allow the charges to be waylaid or put aside or dropped or something. Safety first. It’s a wholly unsatisfactory way of doing things, yes, but it might just save the country. Or it might not. Thank goodness I don’t have to make these sort of decisions and have people like Julius Malema to do it for me.

In other more important news, that statue mystery turned out to be some artist wanting to “mix art and nature”. Boring.

Although I will in future follow the correct procedure and obtain permission from the relevant organisations, I will continue to place sculptures in different locations in South Africa and abroad to raise awareness and provoke debate.

Yeah – whatever. Now go and get a proper job.

And, in a poke in the eye for Victorian maritime engineering, Port St Mary lighthouse has been washed away by a big wave.  

A combination of a high tide and strong winds over night dealt a fatal blow to the 19th Century light that has been there since the breakwater was built, between 1882 and 1886.

I could sit here by the fireside and relate a myriad of tales from my childhood, many of which would be about that lighthouse. But that would be rather dull for you and a lot of them would be made up anyway. So I won’t.