The heading above doesn’t sound as dramatic, or as theatrical in English, as the Afrikaanse: “My swak hart!” This expression is sometimes used when people hear shocking news, or when they see something really frightening. As we all know, a weak heart can kill you, till you die from it.
Yesterday I sent an e-mail to DA Councillor, Ben Chapman. In it, I complained about a sewage leak in the DA’s Ward 41, in Meyerspark. Raw sheet has been spilling into the street for several months. No one came to repair the leak. Maybe the problem was never reported – I just don’t know.
Now here’s the thing: when you drive past the sewage spill with the car’s windows open, you get a foretaste of what it will be like in Hell. Forget about being cast into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone – the Hell-Smell of sewage, on the corner of Simon Vermooten and Kent Streets, is the real deal.
I first came into contact with the Hell-Smell some months ago. We were driving home from the shops. The wife was navigating as usual – teaching me to drive – and pointing out various objects which she was convinced I was about to crash into. She’s been doing this for forty-four years.
My driver’s license, which permits me to drive Extra Heavy Load Tank Transporters, and Army Battle Tanks, has never impressed her. She knows best.
But that’s not important right now.
On that fateful day, as I unwittingly drove straight into Hell, all of the car’s windows were wide open. (Let me share a personal secret with you: Few people know this, but my wife is a mean and unkind woman. She can deliver a straight-elbow jab to my ribs, faster than the speed of light. And she does this quite often – especially when I snore at night.)
So: “Whack!” Faster than the speed of light. Two cracked ribs. “Pig!” she shouted. “Right here in the car! How dare you? Have you no shame?”
“Sorry, dear. But that terrible stench is coming from a sewage spill, which you might not have noticed while you were busy navigating me around that last pothole,” was my lame excuse.
“OK. But just so you know: I watching you; so don’t try anything,” she replied.
(Each time after that, I made damn sure that all the windows were tightly closed, long before we got to the Hell-Smell area. This just goes to show that you can teach old dogs new tricks.)
But enough of sharing intimidating stories of my married life with you. As I said before: Yesterday I sent an e-mail to DA Councillor, Ben Chapman. I complained about
my cracked ribs the horrible Hell-Smell, in Ward 41. I never thought he would answer, but he did:
“Dear Irukandji (not my real name, ha-ha),
Thank you for being a concerned citizen. I, as the Ward Councillor (Ward 41), am concerned about issues in the area as much as you are.
I would just like to remind you that the state of the Ward can be directly attributed to the ANC led Council. What you see is a direct result of the ANC’s lack of service delivery.
As the DA representative in the area, I engage with Council daily about problems in the Ward. For Example: the sewerage problem on the corner of Kent and Simon Vermooten was reported by me to the ANC led administration. The fact of the matter is, the sewerage pipe was damaged by Telkom and Council and Telkom are fighting between themselves on who should fix the pipe. Council is understaffed, they have little material to fix problems and only have 3 plumbers for the whole Eastern side of Tshwane (24 Wards). Best regards, Cllr Ben Chapman.”
I thought that that would be the last I would hear from him, but I was wrong…
This morning, coming back from another shopping expedition, I had the windows tightly closed as we approached Hell-Smell. The wife was navigating; teaching me to drive; pointing out various dangerous objects on the road… The usual stuff.
Suddenly: “My swak hart!” I screamed.
There were bakkies, and trailers, and cars, and work teams, and people, and politicians, all over the Hell-Smell area! The spill had stopped. And the smell was gone!
I grabbed the camera from my car’s
gun glove compartment, and walked straight into what used to be a no breathing zone – taking pictures, while introducing myself to the people and politicians standing at ground zero.
There was Councillor Ben Chapman, whom I recognised from previous election posters. There was Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, with her charming smile. And there was Dr. J.C. Kloppers-Lourens, DA MP (PBUH), a lovely lady.
Now, you know, and I know, and we both know, separately and collectively, that politicians are not to be trusted. But I can tell you that these three from the DA, are really nice people. They were friendly, down-to-earth, and trying to be helpful – without making empty promises. They didn’t even promise me one of the six million “real” jobs. They are not like Helen at all.
I wanted to tell them about “my swak hart,” and my cracked ribs – but no one seemed interested. They told me that the ANC are terrible when it comes to service delivery. But I already knew that.
In the end, they gave me a blue DA hat as a bribe to vote for them. Unfortunately, the bribery hat is so small; it doesn’t even fit my cat. But I suppose it’s the thought that counts. (Yes, Sakkie, I would have preferred one of those nice blue DA T-shirts, and a box of KFC, Streetwise Feast, 8 pieces. But I don’t qualify – I’m white.)
I shall put the little DA hat on display in my lounge; along with my EFF beret; my AgangSA saddle blanket; and my “I’ll die for Zuma” T-shirt.
We parted company and I drove home with my windows wide open.
My ribs are much better now, thank you very much.