Power, freedom and other less-noteworthy stuff

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The power utility Eskom, had a further mishap at one of their plants yesterday which resulted in a blackout that lasted nearly four hours where I live. That was time in which I meant to download all the photographs from the two cameras I had taken on my recent road trip around the country.

Luckily it was only four hours, which meant I could catch up on the latest news following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris by what is believed to be Muslim fundamentalists. Looking around the interwebs, it is disconcerting to note the scale of hatred being directed at ordinary Muslims and Islam. This is pretty unfair as they are as much victims as the rest of us. The whole of Islam cannot be blamed for the misguided actions of a minority of fundamentalist idiots.

I managed to get in a post yesterday which was meant to show my solidarity with the victims and also my stance on freedom of speech which should of course be inviolable. It must be recognized that yesterday’s outrageous attack on Charlie Hebdo, was an attack on our freedoms.

On to other less important things…

I’m back at work and it sucks after such a long vacation. This week has been draining. It seems as if there was a conspiracy to hold back completion of all projects for me to return and take care of them.

Today I managed to download all my photos and will start cropping etc. The one above is one of them taken while driving, as we descended from the majestic Karoo down to the Eastern coastline of George.

I hope to start posting some of them here soon. Until then…

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Rolling blackouts

blackout

Yesterday turned out to be quite a frustrating day. I had meant to watch some soccer and post a review of The Martian by Andy Weir, but our national electricity supplier decided to implement phased blackouts across the country to compensate for their gross incompetence negligence maintaining the grid.

So there I was all settled to stream the early afternoon Manchester Derby on my computer, fresh whiskey and soda poured, pretzels and chips neatly laid out by my side… when the bastards at Eskom decided to throw the switch. I wouldn’t have minded so much had it been earlier in the day as I had slept in late, but why the fuck at two ‘o clock in the afternoon?

When the power did come back on some six hours later, I was far too deep into the bottle and all interest in writing had dissipated… and Manchester United were probably either well into the post-mortem of their latest defeat at the hands of Manchester City, or into bottles of their own. Can’t say I feel too sorry for them; never did like that team much.

They say that the rolling blackouts, or load shedding as Eskom like to call it, will continue well into the week, maybe longer. I have all my fuck you’s nicely bottled up inside for when they do happen. Off course, the wankers at Eskom can hardly take all the blame; the fucking politicians have had a major role to play in the demise of the power utility. Yeah, I’m talking to you, you ANC half-wits.

Oh well, on to better things…

A fellow blogger who follows my posts regularly mentioned in an earlier post that he had nothing to fill the silly box segment of his daily blog, so I thought I would help him out. Now this really put a smile on my face and brightened up (fuck you Eskom) what would have been an otherwise gloomy Monday.

A Malawian diplomat who had once described dictator President Robert Mugabe as an idiot, refused to take up the post of envoy to Zimbabwe. He was quoted by Germany’s The Foreigner magazine in 2006 as saying:

Zimbabwe has an idiot — I am sorry, I know you are recording — but they have an idiot for president.

This guy Robert Mugabe, I hope that he lives a long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man.

Well done Thoko Banda, you have made my day. You earn a noddy badge; the only one I’m likely to hand out to a politician this year, or ever.

Now where’s the rest of that whiskey?

Redistribution of wealth through incompetence

I think I’ve worked out how the [post-Polokwane] ANC is redistributing the wealth of South Africa. And it’s not being redistributed to the poor as you would expect.

I’ve also worked out why they are reluctant to privatize State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) such as Eskom, Transnet, South African Airways (SAA), The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) etc. These enterprises are a rich and easy source of wealth that can be siphoned off quite legally, though not ethically. And the worst bit is that the rich pickings are being redistributed to a new assemblage of amoral, get-rich-quick cunts – the new ANC-connected elite.

Here’s how I think it’s being done:

The [post-Polokwane] ANC deploy their cadres who are also grossly incompetent pricks, to run these SOE’s (normally as CEO’s). It’s vital that they are incompetent; the more so, the better. This prerequisite ensures a quicker turnover in the CEO position; which means that another cadre can have his turn at the feeding trough much sooner. The brilliance of the scheme is that when these thieving bastards get found out, we’re told that they have to coerced into stepping aside through the inducement of a golden handshake, which invariably turns out to be millions of rands. That is the simplicity and beauty of this scam.

Its been going on for years, and most, if not all SOE’s have been targeted. The latest instance involves the CEO of the SABC, Solly Mokoetle who is allegedly receiving a settlement of around R30 million, for less than a year’s work. It’s therefore not surprising that Roy Padayachie, a relatively unknown but apparently well-connected Minister of Communications was on hand to commend Solly and say that it was time to

open a new page and start a new chapter

Off course we all know what that new page and new chapter means. A new cadre waiting expectantly in the wings for his or her turn at the trough.

But, perhaps I’m just imagining things…

Whatever happened to government of the people, for the people…

For most ordinary people, democracy has come to mean government of the people, by the people, for the people. Those iconic words by Abraham Lincoln, contained in the Gettysburg Address of 1863, remains a source of inspiration not only for Americans, but many other nations around the world, and has even been incorporated word for word into the French constitution.

Most modern governments however, pay scant respect to the vision those words are meant to portray. I watched a YouTube video yesterday, titled Sai Baba Exposed – Part 1-4 (also available here as a Google video in one complete segment), and was completely astounded at the self-important retort made by a former Indian Cabinet Minister to a British journalist, interviewing him about sordid allegations concerning Sai Baba, a cult leader who thinks he is some sort of god. The Minister’s openly intimidatory remark toward the journalist which sounded like “do you know my status,” made me wince, not because it came from a member of the world’s largest democracy, but because it sounded so familiar. I could have sworn I was hearing it from one of our very own Government Ministers, right here in South Africa, or our President himself. You see, it’s become common-place in South Africa, for elected public officials, Executive,  Senior and Junior, down to the lowest clerk to show utter disdain and contempt for the ordinary people who are responsible for them holding those positions.

The culture of entitlement has permeated every sphere of public office. Even organizations such as the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), which are aligned with the ruling political party, and CEO’s of state-owned Utilities such as Eskom, the power supplier, have become accustomed to displaying a total lack of respect and contempt for the ordinary citizen, while openly enjoying the patronage and protection of the parent body, the ANC. And just as Sai Baba evidently enjoys both Police and Government protection in India, the ANC’s minions, who are regularly accused of fraud and corruption, do so here in South Africa as well.

But, this self-serving culture by public officials is not limited to India and South Africa. Until only recently, the great United States of America, that bastion of freedom and justice, the apparent model of democracy, had a President who could fit the mould of a common dictator quite easily. And just a few hours ago, I read an article Jamaican Bureaucrats Do Not Serve the People, by a retired cardiologist, Basil Waine Kong, returning from the USA to his home country, about his displeasure and disappointment at what he found there. It was chilling, because he might as well have been writing about South Africa.

Even though this is a world-wide phenomenon, I am concerned more with South Africa and our immediate problem. The great Nelson Mandela must surely be highly aggrieved at what has happened to his beloved ANC. This organization is a ghost of its former illustrious self. The ANC of today is a rotting carcase, populated by slimy maggots who pose as leaders of the people. For years they have fed off the largesse of the people who put them into power, but now that the rotting carcase that was once the great ANC no longer gives them the cover of virtue and honour, they are openly feeding on each other too. In-fighting is tearing apart the ass-end of this carcase from the head-end, but you would be hard-pressed to know which maggots are inhabiting what end at any one time.

What recourse does the ordinary person have to fight this scourge of governmental disparagement? I turned to the only true god of enlightenment, Google, for answers and asked the question What can people do if government does not serve the people? And guess what? I could not find any reasonable answers. In fact Answers.com has this to say: This question has not been answered yet. Does this mean we are doomed to suffer government tyranny for ever? Does someone have an answer, which does not involve revolution again?

Did the powers that be, interfere with the power that’s trying to be…?

I got up around 2AM this morning in pitch darkness. There’s usually ambient light forcing its way in through the curtains, but this morning there was nothing. The missing glowing red numbers on my alarm clock told me that there was a power outage again. Superstitious people would take this as a sign of bad things to come. But I’m not superstitious.

Late this afternoon, I heard on the news that Bobby Godsell, Chairman of Eskom, the state-owned power utility had resigned. I told myself that Eskom was just setting the scene earlier this morning for the main event – the announcement of the resignation. This latest development was the culmination of several days of high drama emanating from Eskom, and another in a series of calamities which have dogged the utility in the last year or two.

The comedic series of events which started last week went something like this: Bobby Godsell, the Chairman announces on Thursday, the resignation of the CEO, Jacob Maroga. However, the  ANC Youth League [yes, those nutters again!] dispute that Maroga had resigned. Strangely, a media briefing scheduled by Godsell was then also cancelled, and no further comment came from Eskom. Then on Monday morning, it was announced that Maroga had not resigned; and this after media reports that Jacob Zuma, the President had met with Godsell on Sunday. Then later in the day, Godsell announces his resignation.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I smell a monumental amount of government interference in this whole mess, with the intention of saving the hide of one Jacob Maroga, for whatever reasons. We’ve had far too many incidences of government and ANCYL meddling in business, to think anything else. The simple truth of the matter is that this government can’t be trusted, and thinking the worst is the default option.

Meanwhile, true to form, the ANCYL and the Black Management Forum have responded to calls for Maroga’s dismissal by using the very popular race card tact. Perhaps there is a certain element of racism involved, but the facts about his (non)performance are pretty hard to ignore: financial losses running into the billions during his tenure,  revelations of mismanagement by Eskom management staff, and failure of the utility to supply the power demands of the nation. It’s quite simple; when someone is being paid an obscene amount of money, as Maroga is, then his performance comes under scrutiny. The public have a right to demand performance because it affects us directly, just as it did this morning when I had no electricity.

Heartening though is the capacity of South Africans to find comedic relief, in the most serious of situations. While this whole sorry saga was playing out, I received the following picture in the mail, which is now more appropriate than ever.

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And just so that the government understands that we will be watching them closely, exposing, ridiculing and lambasting every attempt to defraud us, I have tinkered with the picture slightly to reflect the current situation at Eskom.

einsteinEskom