Friday, 22 July 2016


There are countdowns for everything at the moment. The Olympic games, the local government elections, the demise of SAA and SABC, the junk status downgrade for our poor country and then the US presidential elections. More personal is the growing tally of relatives and friends who have decided to leave South Africa for good. The most common reason offered for their move is to reunite families already splintered and seeking safety and sense elsewhere. Most of us are too polite to suggest that racial discrimination has reached intolerable levels. Ironically none of the young skilled and competent citizens who are now the most affected by the current policies of social engineering and quotas were alive when previous governments were making the same mistakes. Only a few us might now remember in bemusement our conviction that we could make SA a better place for everyone with our protests against apartheid and votes for an opposition. But fortunately despite our cynicism there is still an encouraging number of fellow citizens who believe they can get this country to the place it deserves to be. But it will take courage to sack most politicians, half the civil servants and remove the restrictions on capital and labour that several generations of politicians have piled into the statute books.
The unexpected decision by Eskom to phase out their policy of buying power from anyone with a windmill or solar panel is really interesting. Firstly, they seem to be admitting to the incontrovertible technical fact that these so called renewable sources don’t deliver electricity all day and every day and this doesn’t match the kind of supply that users demand. And secondly it is rather embarrassing that the price of power from these systems is substantially lower than even the published and massaged costs of building power stations and buying and burning coal.
Here in Durban the great and good as well as the loathsome and dubious have gathered to offer us their views on what should be done about AIDS. Mostly absent from this jamboree of course are the ground troops working in clinics, hospitals and laboratories. Their efforts and successes have been remarkable. Also missing is a report in person from Number One on his experiences of showering as a preventative measure in virus transmission.
There is some kind of unwelcome race to the bottom going on as Governor Kganyago underbids the IMF (who called 0.1%) with his forecast of 0% growth for our poor nation this year. Fortunately for the politicians, these folk and their utterances are so remote from the understanding and experiences of most of the electorate that there is little chance that they will be turfed out of office for failing to perform. This week an ANC party bigwig assured his audience that the party had been anointed by his deity to rule in SA. So far no one has pointed out that the track record of the party in achieving a prosperous and happy nation doesn’t say much for that assurance.
For a considerable sum of money, the Joburg Municipality has purchased a fleet of emergency vehicles designed to support police at the scene of accidents and incidents. Among the equipment and facilities squeezed onto these trucks are bar fridges and a mini conference room. Soon after their official unveiling the fleet was dispatched to attend a riot but failed to arrive because of an unspecified “technical difficulty”. Well at least the cops on board could have sat around the table and had a cold drink or two and argued about who forgot the map book.
How long before Minister Mabalula discovers that the Tour de France is a sport and that the South Africans taking part may be in need of his talents. Louis Meintjies is lying second in one of the categories and the chance of a photo op on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday for Fikile must be very tempting. Now we are down at the sharp end of the Super Rugby competition and Lion’s supporters are still smarting from last weekend’s loss in South America. Nevertheless, there are 3 SA teams to shout for this weekend.
James Greener
Friday 22nd July 2016