Protesting toll fees

I received a call from SANRAL about a 18months ago wanting to guage my opinions on the new tolling system they would implement as a part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). When I asked what the fee they were considering was, they told me 50c per kilometre. It sounded steep at the time. Now, they have announced a 66c/km fee that will be implemented in June 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye Hayibo

I was happily editing a mates research dissertation tonight when I noticed a tweet claiming that is closing down. I sincerely hope it is not true, but this newsletter says it is so. Hayibo has been my favourite source of satirical news reporting for the last few years. In fact, they’ve been the only source of satirical news reporting in South Africa (to speak of at least). Their online shop will be open for another week so be sure to visit their and get arguably the best t-shirts around. Here’s a snippet from the announcement:

We would have loved to rule the internet until Jesus returned, perhaps to witness the power-sharing deal the ANC will desperately try to broker, but alas the lifeblood of all websites, advertising, has never materialised. If we had a buck for everyone in Corporate South Africa who said, “I adore the site, I just don’t want to associate my brand with it,” we could have retired. But we kind of understand: the people who are trying to convince us that you need to buy their soap to wash your dirty soap are clearly in the satire business too, so perhaps they see us as competition.

South Africa’s annual pissing competition

I found out today that with the newly revised wage offer by government it will take the public servants on strike four years to recover the money they’ve lost through the no-work-no-pay policy, adjusted for the new negotiated increase.

Four years!? What the …. ? The 14 days of industrial action equates to a four year debt.

I’m not sure it has occurred to our average public servant, be it an administrator, teacher or hospital nurse, that while they have either been sitting at home, or out on the streets intimidating volunteers working in their place, that it will take them so long to recover the money they’ve lost?

Now, lest I be misunderstood, I am all for the right to strike. Especially in this current situation. The pay scheme’s for teachers, nurses and the like are woeful. I can attest to this myself having been a teacher. But there comes a point when a protracted strike has no logical reason for it’s continuation. There is no econmic justification, just a principle-based pissing competition. Here’s what I mean … Read the rest of this entry »

South African rhetoric of the “challenge”

In South Africa it is taboo to refer to “problems”. This is especially true if you are a representative of government. “No, no, no Mr Interviewer … I would not say it is a problem. Rather we are faced with a challenge.”

People fear that they are in some way resigning themselves to the “un-solvability” of the problem if they utter the very word. Behind this fear lies a a fatalistic way of languaging the issue at hand. Instead, the rhetoric surrounding how we language a problem is pervaded by “challenges”. The other perspective on this rhetoric is that by admitting that an issue is a problem, you somehow admit some form of culpability in relation to the problem. And so, referring to a “challenge” displaces the responsibility for not having already solved the problem.

How frail is our patriotism?

Wow, the media has been a buzz with reactions to Bafana Bafana’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of the sturdy Uruguayans last night. Radio talk shows, Twitter, Facebook and casual conversations have been saturated with a range of sentiment towards the local team and the supporters. The biggest topic, besides the team’s lackluster performance, has the been the walk-out of thousands of fans at Loftus last night.

Sam and I were at the game. Thousands of spectators literally stood up and started to file out of the stadium immediately after the second Uruguayan goal was scored late in the second half. We stayed behind. As the third goal was scored, many more thousands of spectators got up to leave. Were they supporters, or just spectators? Also, when I look at the negative sentiment directed towards those people who left early, I wonder how frail our patriotism is in South Africa?

Read the rest of this entry »

Driving the flag: some thoughts

My car wrapped in the SA flag

It’s been two weeks since I had my car wrapped in the SA flag. I did it because the idea of just plain mirror socks did not match the swell of patriotism I was feeling. So, I managed to get some sponsorships from like-minded small companies (Missing Link, Cerebra, Frog Communications and Print Pot) and made the biggest patriotic statement I could think of.

Driving the flag has been interesting. Seeing people’s reactions has been even more interesting. Here is what I’ve seen …

Read the rest of this entry »

World Cup Opening

Sam and I have just returned home from the Opening Ceremony and Match 1 of the FIFA 2010 World Cup. It’s a little surreal as this moment has been a few years in the making. The World Cup has always been 3 or 4 years away – something distant, not quite rooted in my reality of now. And now, it is here. Ke Nako.

As I suspected I would, I feel a huge swell of patriotism and national pride. I’m frikkin proud of my country and that we managed to get here, and get here successfully. I really wish I could revisit those social occasions when I had to listen to the naysayers waddle in their pessimism and just say “Na na na na naaaa”, ending off with a good show of the tongue.

Read the rest of this entry »