Call me cynical

Some few facts for you to help make up your mind on whether I’m being cynical here:

Fact 1:
Eskom, our national power utility, a state-owned enterprise, has been run into the ground by mismanagement and corruption under the ANC government. Mainly (entirely?) because of these reasons, it cannot produce enough power to supply the country and so we – fairly regularly – have rolling blackouts. This is called loadshedding. I have written about it a lot.
The first significant loadshedding of 2019 began yesterday and looks like it will continue all week.

Fact 2:
We’ve got an election coming up in the next couple of months (exact date still TBC May 8th, see below). We stay in DA-controlled Cape Town, in the DA-controlled Western Cape. All the other 8 provinces are governed by the ruling ANC.
There is (obviously) a lot of talk about the election at the moment. It’s safe to say that it’s probably among the Top 5 things that people in SA are aware of right now. Front of mind then.

Fact 3:
The (DA-controlled, remember) City of Cape Town has a hydroelectric facility which it can use in times of electricity shortage to mitigate the effects of loadshedding. And it does use this facility, nearly every time there’s loadshedding.

But – how odd – it isn’t using it this time around. 

So, the cynic in me is suggesting that the DA is using this opportunity to remind the people of Cape Town just what ANC rule has done for the country.
And yes, I’ll be sitting in darkness from 8pm this evening thinking about exactly that. But just a bit of me will be wondering if it could have been different if the DA had not wanted to make a point.

Cynical? Hmmm.

 

UPDATE: This:

Indeed.

Which is exactly what they would say, of course.

UPDATE 2: And this:

Which is exactly what he would say, of course.

Thank you to my correspondents and their corrections.

Getting things done

It’s a phat 5 years since I wrote about a possible degree of slippage in the City of Cape Town’s efficiency in responding to ratepayers’ issues and getting stuff done about them. Back then, I said:

…the city is becoming less Capetonian and more Joburgesque every day. The DA are slipping, but they know that they can afford to, because everyone can remember – and can still see – just how bad the alternative is.

Of course, these days Joburg is a DA city too, but that doesn’t mean that things here have really improved. Politically speaking, Cape Town remains so staunchly blue that there’s no real pressure for them council to repair potholes, power outages and the like promptly like there was when their governing future was in the balance.

Or maybe I’m just being cynical? But either way, the city’s response to local problems is simply not as good as it used to be.

There are ways around it though. So, in order to assist you in dealing with the system, here’s how I got the streetlights on our road fixed, in an easy 47-step process.

Note that many of the streetlights on our road aren’t working. Odd.
Email the council, with name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Receive auto-reply email promising “a response shortly”.
Wait several days.
Re-email the council with name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Receive auto-reply email promising “a response shortly”.
Wait a day.
Send council a message on Twitter, with name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Receive prompt response asking for name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Send council a message on Twitter, with name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Receive all important reference number.

 

 

 

 

Wait several days.
Ask council (publicly) on Twitter for progress update on given reference number.
Receive prompt response asking for name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Annoy wife by swearing out loud.
Send council a message on Twitter, with name, location and contact number, plus details of the problem.
Receive message on Twitter saying that they are following up on it and will revert when we receive information.
Wait 16 hours.
Come home after nightfall to find streetlights have been fixed.

SEAMLESS. 

Still, at least they brush up their grass clippings.

Protest

Bit of a weird one, this. Weird because I’m writing something about a very fluid situation and I’m writing it four days ago*. So it might not make any sense by the time you read it. Hell, it might not make any sense by the time I’ve written it. I’m struggling already and we’re only 50-odd words in.

Today is supposed to be a day of national protest in South Africa. Well, as I’m writing this (four days ago), it is. It’s also a normal day of work (except it obviously won’t be) and right now no-one seems to know what to expect, save maybe for the Presidency and chums ignoring whatever protests do occur.

The thing is, South Africa is such a diverse and divided nation that any coherent mass protest action is terribly difficult to organise. While individual political parties and organisations can raise their own demos, no-one has really managed to successfully mobilise across all racial, political and social classes. And that’s why JZ and friends have happily got away with it all so far. It’s also why things need to change if today’s action is to have any effect.

Look, there’s enough support for the protest, but it’s completely fragmented. Already, as I am writing this (four days ago, remember) people – supposedly on the ‘same side’ – are questioning the basis for people’s anger, arguing and fighting about the legitimacy of some protesters with superb logic like: “if you didn’t protest against (a) then you can’t protest against (b)”. Because obviously there are rules for being allowed to express your viewpoint on any given subject.

It’s a phat, public mess and Zuma must be loving every minute of it.

Obviously, people need to look past their individual grievances and try to find common ground if this is to have any chance of working. And I do recognise that that is much easier to say than to do.

I believe that there are many reasons for getting rid of this rotten, corrupt regime. Whatever yours is, today is a day – even more than any other – when you need to recognise and respect that others may have their own reasons too.

 

* All will become clear on this bit tomorrow. 

Those SONA protests & road closures

That time of year again when hits can be garnered from repeating helpful information that people should have got from elsewhere, but didn’t. This year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) is on Thursday, but the rehearsals begin this evening, disrupting your drive home and reminding you of the pomp our President so richly deserves.

Basically, anything around Parliament is going to be closed from 5pm each evening, while roads around JZ’s Cape Town place in Newlands will be shut only on Thursday evening. Here’s a helpful link to a helpful PDF with all the details:

Helpful PDF

BUT! In addition to the official SONA thing, there are three – count them and weep – THREE separate protest marches on Thursday too! And they start early:

sonademos

First off is the DA, starting at Gardens Centre Woolies Mill Street at 9am. Then Ses’Khona (minus currently jailed poo-flinger Andile Lili) from Kaizersgracht at 10.
Later (1pm) is the #ZMF movement, heading from Greenmarket Square down to the Grand Parade.
For the record, the #ZumaMustFall group has applied for 5000 marchers, Ses’Khona has applied for 1500 marchers, and the DA has applied for 500.

Look, the smart thing to do is to avoid the CBD altogether on Thursday. But if you really can’t, then plan carefully and pack adequate supplies for a night in your car.

Coincidence?

DA leader Mmusi Maimane makes “a keynote speech” on Race and Identity in his party and in South Africa, and suddenly Twitter is “mysteriously” unavailable?

Fullscreen capture 2016-01-19 102748 AM.bmp

Could it be that the ANC have blocked access so that no-one was able to hear or engage with this landmark address?

Fullscreen capture 2016-01-19 103820 AM.bmp

Probably not, to be honest.

UPDATE: Still, the fact that this was a worldwide outage hasn’t stopped some people (namely Mmusi’s wife) from thinking the worst:

Do you really think they’re that bothered? Really?
Eish. Bit of a stretch.