A ray of hope lights a taxi journey

2008-06-29 00:00

THE best counter to the slew of negative publicity our media is so good at trotting out is a dose of healthy perspective.

I was fortunate to receive this injection courtesy of one Themba, who was volunteered by his employer to do the driving to O.R. Tambo International airport for the evening flight to Durban.

It was 5 pm, but Themba made light of the traffic as we struck up a great rapport to remind me, unexpectedly, why I love this country.

We discovered we were more or less the same age, and that we had more in common than what separates us. Put differently, I may live in Maritzburg and he in Soweto, I am white and he is black, and we most certainly have different life experiences, but we nonetheless agree on things that could perhaps be termed “matters of the state”.

The conversation flowed easily and we found ourselves covering an array of topics, all of which bear relevance to living in South Africa.

We both feared for Bafana Bafana in two years’ time, and wondered about the planning and preparation that seem to be rather pedestrian at this point.

“Imagine the embarrassment if South Africa becomes the first host nation in World Cup history not to progress beyond the first round,” he said.

Then, skirting Alexandra, Themba pointed out areas that were affected by recent xenophobic attacks and hinted at the complex nature of the crisis.

“People became resentful of having to share what little they have, especially as far as housing and services are concerned,” he said. “People are angry, maybe not even at the foreigners, but at the government for betraying them.”

Next up was Mugabe who came in for a pasting, for the same reasons most other sane people criticise our northern neighbour for.

It struck me that ordinary people do think alike, that we have the same values, and that we share a healthy suspicion of our so-called leaders. And that is a good thing.

Flight blues

THE only reason I took a flight to and from Durban was because all the morning flights from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg were full!

Judging by all the NP-registered cars in the Durban parking lot, there is a great need to improve the service.

Black and white

THE court ruling that bestowed BEE status on people of Chinese origin accentuates the point that the only people not eligible for preferential treatment are dinkum whiteys.

Put conversely, it means that a raft of affirmative action and BEE legislation was enacted to withhold these privileges from about R4,8 million people, or about 12% of the population.

Mshwati water

WE understand that residents paying their dues to the Mshwati Local Municipality are growing tired of the excuses being trundled out.

One such instance pertains to a problem with water billing, and repeated assurances that the matter is being dealt with. Tired of nothing being done, the ratepayer finally managed to speak to someone in the IT department, who claimed to know about the problem. This person kindly undertook to unearth the truth, namely that “the municipality is talking to the company printing the bills”. Yes, we also struggle to understand the logic.

Tea for two

IT was good seeing former uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Bongi Sithole and formerly high-flying Lucky Moloi sharing a cup of tea at the Olive Tree recently.

It is true that Moloi was mostly talking on his cellphone, but it’s good to know that they still find the time for a quiet cuppa, and that with all the hullabaloo about the financial irregularities at Sithole’s former employer.

Light relief

ELECTRICITY consumers are reasonably happy that the Msunduzi Municipality will absorb part of the charge levied by Eskom. In real terms it means that the council will absorb 3,5% of the new tariff and pass on 24% to consumers — a far cry from the 36% imposed by Cape Town and 30% by the eThekwini Metro.

Last word

AN optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out? Michael De Saint-Pierre.

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