Scum making news: Tuesday, February 22

Toll Collect Portique A65

Image via Wikipedia

The proposed implementation of excessive tolls on Gauteng Provinces main highways has been suspended by Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele, until further deliberations have been conducted with relevent stakeholders. This after a mammoth outcry from the irrelevant stakeholders also known as Joe Public.

Later, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced that:

South Africans can be best assured that government is doing everything possible to resolve this matter in a manner that will be in the best interests of the commuter, road user and the state for future development and management of our road infrastructure in the country.

The Premier must surely be as proficient a scumbag as the honourable Transport Minister, if she expects the thinking public to actually buy this garbage. Let’s take a few steps back:

  1. An elaborate and sophisticated open tolling system is constructed, not on a new road, but on an existing road that has been upgraded with additional lanes.
  2. National government proceeds to announce a complicated, and outrageously expensive tolling fee structure.
  3. The Gauteng Provincial government pretends to be against the tolling system after protests started gaining momentum, and decides to raise the issue with National government.

What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. Why were existing roads already paid for by the public converted to toll roads, without adequate alternative routes being in place, nor for that matter anything closely resembling public transport infrastructure?
  2. Why were there no prior consultations on the toll fee structure and why were the public not involved in the decision-making process; one that has the potential to ruin many of them financially?
  3. Isn’t it just way too convenient for the Provincial Administration, belonging to the same political party as the national administration, to deny knowledge of the whole scheme, and to act as some sort of messiah, so close to the upcoming local government elections?

No, no, no, Nomvula, I am pretty sure that this whole open tolling system is just another elaborate self-enrichment scam being perpetrated by the ANC-government on the mostly ignorant public. The best interests of the commuter and road user was never considered, because this whole situation would not have developed to where it is now, if consideration for the public was the first priority.

Admit it, self-enrichment was the first and only consideration in this whole ghastly scam.

Expert drivers, and those who just can’t get an appointment to show their skill

I stepped out at the end of the Top Gear Live show yesterday at the Sundome, Johannesburg, in awe of the driving skills displayed, particularly by the French team of motorcyclists in the Cage of Death.

Hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and James May, the show is a spectacle to behold – motoring theatre and comedy at its finest. Even after four years of attending the show since it was first brought out to South Africa by the Top Gear team, with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond the hosts back then, I still shudder when the pyrotechnic explosions go off, with balls of flame so close, you can feel the heat.

Yesterday, after watching the four motorcyclists riding in a steel cage barely large enough to hold them, weaving intricate patterns, I remember thinking that was one of the most awesome sights I had ever witnessed. Today however, I came across a YouTube video featuring eight motorcyclists in what is admittedly a slightly bigger cage, at a Shanghai circus, and I feel somewhat cheated. To be honest, I guess four motorcyclists in a cage is impressive enough, but Clarkson and company had better bring a cage with nine of them the next time they’re in South Africa.

And just as I was thinking that the comedy in South Africa could not get any better, I came across an article in an on-line publication today, about the Chief Magistrate of Gauteng, Daniel Thulare, being referred to the Magistrate’s Commission for apparently advising that drivers who could prove they had a learner’s licence which had expired while the driver was trying to obtain a testing date for a driver’s licence, would be able to legally drive on South African roads.

For those who are a bit mystified about all this; I think it’s sufficient to reveal that the licencing authorities which presumably falls under the ambit of the  Transport Department, is in what can only be described as a state of disarray. Aspiring learner drivers hoping to get an appointment to demonstrate their proficiency and thus pass their drivers test, have found it nearly impossible to do so, for more than a year already. It is all too apparent that this authority, as with so many other government departments in South Africa, are themselves licenced for incompetence.

Not surprisingly, the Minister of Transport, Sbu Ndebele, who has a country house on probably the only road in South Africa which has no potholes, is not amused by the utterances of  the Chief Magistrate. While his declaration may be technically fair, it is not entirely advisable for a country with so many people who already carry dubious drivers licences [largely due to the endemic corruption at a large number of licencing departments], and who may be deemed to be among the worst drivers in the world.

I however, suspect that the Chief Magistrate is one clever guy, who is just reminding the Transport Department of their inefficiency, in a rather unusual, but amusing way.

Another shameful tale of government self-indulgence…or… the road less travelled is smoother, thanks

I read an article in the news media recently about a women who is suing the Kwa-Zulu Natal roads department, and the government, over the loss of a hand and part of a forearm in an accident, in which she was a passenger in a taxi.  Apparently the taxi overturned when the driver lost control after hitting a pothole on an extremely busy road.

I didn’t think too much about it the time, except that I hoped she got to screw them for as much as possible. As you may be aware by now, I am a big fan of anyone who gets to screw the government… back.

Anyway, I came across a follow-up to the story today, where the roads department is opposing the claim based on an unconvincing argument that they lacked the funds for road maintenance, so could not repair the pothole, which earlier evidence indicated could have been repaired for a measly 500 hundred bucks. However that was not what caught my interest, which incidentally, led to full-blown anger as I completed reading the article. No, my anger was the result of the revelation that in about the same fiscal year, the roads department blew around five and half million bucks tarring a quiet country road that runs past the Minister of  Transport, Sbu Ndebele’s country residence – a road that apparently is used by about 20 cars a day, according to court evidence by a local.

I have heard of many incidents involving motorists hitting potholes on our slowly deteriorating road network, most of which fortunately result in damage to the cars only. However, it galls me to think, as I slalom my way to work and back every day, about the sick bastards in government who not only squander our tax money on luxury SUV’s, but on getting fresh tar layed out for them as they drive as well.