Friday, 13 May 2016


Number One went off to Eskom head office for a chin wag over a cup of tea and emerged with the assurance that the nation need never again fear load shedding. That is indeed great news but our pres is not too hot on large numbers and is undoubtedly lost when it comes to Megawatts and stuff. While new generating capacity is coming on stream, the main reason we have more power than we need right now is because so many big users have shut down their operations. If all our mines and factories and plants were back up working at full steam, us little people would be back to candles and gas.
Mere outsiders have little chance of understanding just what is happening with our domestic airlines. While it seems obvious to most that without the taxpayer’s generous help the national airline would be in deep trouble, the lady chairman of SAA believes that she no longer needs help from the National Treasury. Is she hoping for a surge in passenger numbers as a result of the suspiciously timed regulatory attacks that have been launched against two of the competitors? In both cases the charges look like bureaucratic nit-picking that should have been privately discussed first before making public the alleged contraventions of safety and ownership.
Everyone concerned about the utterly woeful inability of our nation to provide and operate effective and competent schooling for all of its children will have stared in disbelief at the latest proposal. Every school uniform should carry the national flag emblem. How this will help raise us from the foot of the world ranking tables is not explained. Cynics are right to wonder who stands to profit from this idiocy and whether there is already a factory in China churning out the badges. And has anybody thought about what happens when all those lovely rainbow colours meet the weekly washing process?  
Very little good has come from South Africa’s insistence a few years ago that it should join the meaningless grouping of four widely disparate economies, identified and named with the catchy BRICs acronym. Our presence did capitalise the terminal S and it has added wonderful material for the Zuma family album and memoirs. Less exciting was the bill for our share in starting up the BRICS bank and now one of JZ’s new best friends in that club has suddenly been impeached! That’s a development the folks back home don’t need to hear too much about.
It’s been a bad week for the statute book. A number of pesky laws are about to be ignored. Without debating whether having and using a TV set might not disqualify one from being classified as truly poor, the minister thinks that such folk should be absolved from purchasing a TV licence. Obviously it is important that the people get to watch politicians talk without the threat of inspectors carting away unlicensed TV sets. And then the Constitutional Court has been asked to confirm their earlier opinion that the law insists that the Voters Roll must record an address for every voter. In practise, even given unlimited time, this is an impossible requirement to fulfil, some fancy legal footwork is expected so that democracy can take its course. And wont it also be easier to move voters to constituencies at risk of making poor decisions?
Including the ever entertaining Sevens format there is a feast of rugby this weekend although the Sharks match might compete with bed time by straying into Sunday morning. But at least we are back to the 2pm Grand Prix starting times.

James Greener
Friday 13th May 2016