ANCWL comments trouble the nation

Following  the outspoken comments of Julius Malema, the President of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) two weeks ago that he and his followers would “take up arms and kill for Jacob Zuma”, the President of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has now landed herself in hot water with comments made at the organisations annual gathering in Bloemfontein:

My friends, my fellow women, my comrades. We must make it clear to the nation that we are fully behind Jacob Zuma. We support Zuma. We will iron for Zuma.

While her remarks gained widespread support from the delegates at the conference, opposition parties were less impressed. Leader of the opposition, Helen Zille, described the comment as “inflammatory”.

It’s another step in the wrong direction from some factions of the ANC. Making such inflammatory statements as being willing to iron for Zuma is irresponsible. It sends out the wrong message – it’s a small step from there to inciting widespread hoovering.

Mrs Zille refused to make any further comment, saying that she had pressing matters to attend to “but not Jacob Zuma’s trousers”.

Welcome back!

What with one thing and another, I haven’t been able to turn out for my football team – at least not in a playing capacity – for over three months. So, it was with some trepidation and a level of fitness one might expect of an average American teenager that I made my return in for the black and white wizzzzaaaaaaards in the shadow of the World Cup stadium in Green Point last night.

It was a beautiful evening; as I headed towards the hallowed turf I snapped a quick shot of the sun sinking into the South Atlantic – all was well with the world.

Sunset
Hellish scenes on the way to footy

Then I shook hands with the captain of the opposing team (made up of staff from a local Investment Management company) shared a joke with him and the ref and got on with the game.

It quickly became apparent that the current volatility in the world’s stock markets was causing the opposition no end of irritation. Since grievous bodily harm is generally frowned upon in the offices of such organisations, it was perhaps no surprise that they decided to take out their combined frustrations on the 7-a-side team of punchbags which had been set out in front of them. Within 90 seconds of the kick off, the same team captain who had been laughing and joking a moment earlier had mutated into the evil bastard son of Vinnie Jones and Beelzebub himself. As I fended him off at a corner, I found his studs high on my inner thigh, where they left an interesting and somewhat painful runic marking*.

Owch.
Studs up

I looked to the referee for some sign of action. To be honest, I’d expect to see more sympathy in the eyes of a suicide bomber. Fortunately, being from Yorkshire, I’m not one to fling myself Porra-style to the floor each time someone comes near me, which was just as well as I soon realised that the “Ass.” in “Investec Ass. Management” probably stood for “Assault”.

Meh – I survived. But I was hoping for a more gentle re-introduction to the beautiful game.
Next week, we face a team of lawyers. I can hardly wait.

* 24 hours on, these markings are outlined with a spectacular array of purple and deep blue. Beautiful. Magnificent. Bloody sore.

SA crime – the moaning continues

Sadly, South Africa is known, amongst many other things, for its high crime rate. But there came some good news on that front today with the release of the latest crime figures, which show a marked decrease, especially in many of the more serious crimes: murder down 4.7% and robbery with aggravating circumstances down 7.4%, for example. Well, I think it’s good news, but others aren’t happy.
Once again, (I always have to clarify this bit before I talk about crime in SA), I do recognise that South Africa has a problem with crime and I do recognise that something needs to be done about it and that people have a right to expect the government to do something about it. 
However, with the murder rate down to its lowest level in six years and a overall decrease in crime, I think that it is obvious that the initiatives and efforts which are being put in place to combat crime are beginning to work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are very few people who seem to recognise this, though.   

A lot of the negative comments I have read on various SA websites and forums on this subject fall broadly into four categories, which can overlap Venn diagram style, to allow maximum pessimism.
Firstly, there’s the Mugabe reaction: these people have read and heard that crime has decreased, but they are simply ignoring the news and pretending it hasn’t happened. That way, they continue to have something to moan about and a reason to live.
Secondly, the negative optimist approach – and no, that’s not an oxymoron. These people note that crime has fallen, but are not happy that there is still crime happening. In the negative optimists’ world, there is no murder, no robbery, no vandalism and everyone obeys the speed limits. These people should have listened to Safety and Security Minister, Charles Nqakula, as he was presenting the report this morning: 

He told media in Pretoria during the presentation of the annual crime report that even though the statistics indicated a steady decline, crime levels were still very high and “unacceptably so: Government wanted to see a more drastic decline.”

 See? He agrees with you. Crime is still unacceptably high. But it’s down.

Next up, my particular favourites: the nit-pickers. They will pick and choose the worst stats to illustrate just what difficult circumstances South Africa finds itself in: Yes, murder is down, rape is down, robbery is down, but what about truck high-jackings? Did you see that truck high-jackings were up?
Finally, the never-believers. They stand by the words of Mulder & Scully. Trust no-one. These stats are all made up by the Government to make us feel better, when really, crime has sky-rocketed. They cite the fact that these figures are only for reported crime. Which is absolutely correct. However, I defy any government, worldwide, to present accurate statistics on unreported crime, because, you see, it’s unreported.
However, in the unlikely event that the Government has completely fabricated the figures presented today, then I feel that they could have done a much better job on reducing truck high-jackings.

So, there you have it. Once again, I’m fed up with people moaning instead of doing something proactive, like joining their neighbourhood watch. I’m fed up with people only looking for the bad news instead of being happy that there’s actually some good news. I’m fed up with people having foolishly high expectations and feeling angry when they are unfulfilled. Bring forth your predictable and ill-thought-out comments.

One final thing – I’m also growing a little tired of Italians ruining my weekends. This time, the act was repeated by the utterly appalling one-sided refereeing of the Euro 2008 Final by Italian Roberto Rosetti.
Yes Roberto, handball and headbutting are against the rules in football.
German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann thinks the Euro 2008 final was fixed:

“The referee was a catastrophe and sometimes I think it is fixed when I see such a referee, who is biased and not correct in his decisions.”
For example, A Spanish player (David Silva) head-butted our player (Lukas Podolski) and the referee saw it and the linesman saw it.”

Now, I’m no fan of Lehmann’s, but I’m in full agreement that something weird was going on with the refereeing last night. One dodgy decision after another – all in Spain’s favour. How strange.

 

Not in Kansas anymore

UPDATE: Looking for pictures of the 30-31st August 2008 storm? Try here!

As I stared, bleary-eyed, out of the bedroom window into the cold and dark of the Cape Town morning, I was once again blown away by the sight of the lights of Muizenberg glittering on the ocean. What a view. Despite the atrocious weather of the past 24 hours, I am very fortunate to live here.
It was only a few minutes later, standing under a very welcome steaming shower, that I realised that we live about 10km up the road from Muizenberg. Something wasn’t right.

It turns out that rain over the past 24 hours had turned my back garden into something akin to the ocean. As the gloomy, grey morning struggled to be slightly less gloomy and grey, I caught sight of an aging hippy in a wetsuit with his longboard next to my braai, anxiously looking across the lawn for any sign of sharks before he paddled out towards the birdbath to wait for the next big breaker.

It’s true that it has been a pretty torrid couple of days weather-wise for the residents of Cape Town. One of those times that you are glad that you aren’t living in a shack in a township or a tent in a temporary refugee camp (sorry – “displaced foreign nationals site”). Glancing at the SA Weather Service website, I see that Kirstenbosch – home of the famous botanical gardens and just around the corner from us – had 135mm of rain dropped on it in the last 24 hours. That’s 5½ inches for you oldies out there.

S'wet
Kirstenbosch: Rather damp

Still, this is winter in Cape Town so we really should be expecting the wet and the cold. Interestingly, in exactly 2 years time, the entire world will have descended upon the Mother City for the 2010 World Cup. I’m already buying up Pak-a-Mac’s by the lorryload which I will sell at a vastly inflated mark-up to ill-prepared Europeans who think it’s hot and sunny here all year round.

The profits will be used to install some sort of drainage system into my garden before high tide floods my living room.

A money-making sideline

Completely ignoring the thoughts of flame-haired gyppo Mick Hucknall, I chose to mention just how tight money was in SA right now. Sitting watching the footy last night as prices around me continued to rise, I could see only one way out of the situation: sell our son.

Flushed with self-pride and bored with Greece’s lack of ambition, I ran to my wife and explained my brilliant plan. When I came round ten minutes later, I had a headache, my right wrist had been secured to the heater on the bedroom wall and my wife had locked herself and the boy in the nursery. Struggling to get myself off the floor, I contemplated the potential value of adding my wife to the deal. It was only after pulling the heater off the wall (I had only used rudimentary means of attaching it to the wall in case of just such an emergency) that I realised I should probably just have untied my wrist. Bugger.

I eventually talked them out of the nursery by using SWAT negotiation tactics that I learned on Discovery Channel. Well, that and pizza.
As they emerged, my wife handed me the boy and told me to blow his nose. Glancing down at his offending facial appendage, I was appalled to see what I could only imagine was the aftermath of an explosion at a pea soup factory. Evidently, it was actually the thought of drowning in snot rather than my agreeing to a helicopter and a fast car at the border which had forced my wife’s hand during the hostage episode.

Removing the rivers of green exudate from the boy’s top lip proved unexpectedly tough. It was sticky like glue, stringy like mozzarella, and clingy and difficult to get rid of like a couple of my ex-girlfriends.
It was then that my second idea hit me. Sell snot.
South Africans are bizarrely proud to have had a product called “Pratley’s Putty” developed within their borders. Pratley (Pty) Ltd supply “DIY Epoxies, Acrylic Adhesives, Anaerobic Adhesives, Cyanoacrylates, Sealants, Hybrid systems and Special Performance industrial adhesives” to home users across the Cape Flats. Their putty is marketed as “the only South African product to have gone to the moon” – presumably passing some of their less salubrious customers in the troposphere as it did so.
So there’s definitely a market out there for sticky stuff. And thanks to the continuing viral adventures of the little one, I’ve got litres of it.

Continuing with the space theme, it could be used to stick those errant tiles onto the Space Shuttle. Or as a sealant around the booster rocket joints. That’s 14 astronauts we could have saved already.
Closer to home, snot could be used as a non-lethal weapon to spray over mobs intent on xenophobic violence, thus immobilising them.
Tanks of it (in patriotic green) could be used for resistance training for the South African rugby team, or to drown Graeme Smith and Benni McCarthy in.

I’m sure there are a myriad of uses for this innovative and versatile product which I have not yet considered. There’s got to be some sort of waterproofing agent in there somewhere – and a kid’s toy. And maybe a foodstuff too.

I’ll have a quick sniff of Pratley’s finest and see what comes to mind.