Highway mayhem a growing pattern

2008-06-02 00:00

THE N3 is the country’s busiest highway and may soon claim another less salutary epithet, that of being the most dangerous.

This point was driven home last Thursday when we returned from Durban and found ourselves at the back of an almighty queue, close to where the R103 joins the highway. We found ourselves in the right hand lane and hemmed in by a row of trucks in the left lane. Not being able to see what was happening ahead, we vacillated between sticking it out and waiting for the traffic to start flowing again, or looking for an alternative.

We had to decide pretty quickly, as we were fortunately on a section of the road where one could cross the opposite carriageway, and make for the turn-off to Assagay.

The issue was settled when I glanced left and saw diesel dripping from the fuel tank of the truck next to us. Without any further ado, we left the lane, traversed the median, ducked oncoming traffic and made for the relative safety of the R103.

Traveling along the Comrades Marathon route to Pietermaritzburg, we noticed that traffic had come to a complete standstill and learnt later that a truck on fire was the cause.

The incident is part of a growing pattern and traffic congestion is likely to worsen. Given that human error and vehicle failure are the overwhelming causes of accidents, the obvious remedy is better regulation.

Fewer accidents and improved traffic management are guaranteed, but only if there is a far greater law enforcement presence. This implies more manpower and a significantly bigger budget that can only be voted if there is a political will to challenge politically-correct and simplistic perceptions of traffic safety.

One would have thought by now our decision-makers would have done not as little as they had to, but as much as they could to improve things. Discredited as our government structures are, perhaps the answer lies in firing half the parliamentary parasites and redirecting the savings to law enforcement.

This shouldn’t prove too onerous a task if one excludes all those with criminal and civil convictions.

Church rally

THERE is great unhappiness in the southern Drakensberg over the behaviour of the ANC Youth League at the church service to pay respects to KwaSani mayor Eugenia McNamara.

Rumour has it that the organisation treated the service like a political rally, which affronted some members of the public.

Border post moves

WHISPES abound that discussions about the relocation of the Sani Pass border post are back on the agenda.

In essence, the border post is envisioned to be moved from its current position to the ruins of the Good Hope trading station.

The idea is to position the border post at the entrance of the Drakensberg-Maluti Transfrontier Park, a proposal that was largely accepted by most stakeholders.

Tax matters

SARS is on a mission and plans to increase tax assessments by 30%, up annual SARS audits to 72 500, and boost the success rate of investigative audits to 70% over the next four years.

Inflation rates

JUDGING by the stream of carefully leaked reports, we’d better brace ourselves for a hefty interest rate increase.

As we know, rising interest rates are designed to slow down consumer spending and hopefully deflate some inflationary pressures. This appears to have been achieved in the first instance, but not the second in what is fast becoming a contradictory manifestation of monetary policy.

At issue is labour’s power to bargain wage increases on the strength of inflation movements, and secondly, the casual link between an interest rate rise that fuels inflation.

Add the costs consumers have no control over, and a rather eerie picture develops, which requires great wisdom and uncluttered thinking.

A cut ahead

THE Scottsville Racecourse was a riot of colour as outrageous fashions and sexy models competed for attention ahead of the Golden Horse Casino Sprint Races on Saturday.

With more than 250 models strutting their stuff, the Romantic Fairy Tale-themed fashion show is by far the city’s most glamourous event. Some amazing outfits were on exhibit, not to mention a number of head-turning hairdos.

In this respect, The Mews Hair Studio at the Mayor’s Walk Centre proved a cut above, by having five of its creations in the Top 10, including the winning Cinderella-inspired design, complete with slipper.

Rocking art

ANOTHER successful Nashua-sponsored Art in the Park ended yesterday with signs pointing to a sixth consecutive sales record.

This event, organised by Pietermaritzburg Tourism, does the city proud and judging by the wonderful ambience and happy stream of visitors, a great time was had by all. Its success can be attributed to a few simple factors — sponsorship support, great venue, fantastic organisation, a clear vision, and a simple, yet cost-effective marketing strategy.

Tail piece

HOW does one tell a sheep from a goat? This question assumed some relevance during an indigenous goat show at the Royal Show that saw a bewildering diversity of animals sorting as goats.

The answer, according to the vice-chairman of the RAS small stock section Jonathan Tyler, is in the tail.

“A goat’s tail points up, and a sheep’s tail points down,” he said.

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