Reality’s bite without insurance

2008-10-26 00:00

Spare a thought for Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business employee Wonder Mudzengerere, who has been battling for fair compensation after his perfectly fine car was written off in a crash about three months ago.

The facts speak for themselves. The incident happened at about 9 pm in town when a driver ploughed into Mudzengerere’s car from behind at an intersection. The perpetrator drove off, and only approached Mudzengerere the next morning to concede his culpability.

“No problem,” said the driver. “Please approach my insurer.” This Wonder did, but experienced only problems. Unable to afford insurance on his car, Mudzengerere manfully took on the Pretoria-based insurance company and was offered a paltry R12 000, which, with the salvage pay-out of about R3 000, is still way short of the official R28 000 book value.

The next step was to approach the driver of the car that caused the accident and who, to put it politely, is not playing the game. This person’s recalcitrance is bewildering as he stands to lose more than just the compensatory payment, and especially so in view of a pathetic attempt to somehow prove that Mudzengerere’s car was not roadworthy.

Anyway, the story is not over yet, but the moral is that one should, at the very least, make provision for third party insurance. As Wonder mused, “Imagine if I had crashed into his car!”

HAVING just passed the swimming pools on a drive through Alexandra Park, we noticed police van BPY 643 B stopping in the turn-off lane of Alan Paton Drive on Tuesday afternoon, at about 4.20 pm. It then casually deposited two passengers and waited for another load to get in, some in front and others piling into the back.

The brazen cop clearly was unconcerned about using the police van as a public conveyance, and presumably knew that there would be no repercussions.

This brings us to the matter of accountability in the police service, not to mention commitment, and we have to wonder about the declining levels of professionalism.

This is not to say all cops are less than committed — there are some very good and dedicated police personnel around — but unfortunately the good guys are judged on the actions of the bad cops. But when we hear about cops sleeping on duty, arriving late, if at all, at a crime scene, not having access to a vehicle, or asking a complainant how to spell “confess”, “accident” or “bribery”, our confidence in their ability takes a dip.

We believe the wealth of anecdotal evidence points to a universal problem that should be cause for alarm among the leadership hierarchy. And yet, we see no sign of acknowledgement that the top structures are aware of the shortcomings in their departments …

Now, there are several reasons for this state of demotivation and while deeper insight may be useful, of much greater help would be proper management of the force, with immediate effect.

We’re not sure if the incumbent leadership is able to galvanise the force, and questions naturally are being asked about the calibre and suitability of people appointed to influential posts.

The adage that “a fish rots from the head” comes to mind, and perhaps it’s time to take a close look at the structures that govern the police service. Far too many stories circulate about crooked cops on the take or running their own syndicates. Clearly, some proper investigations are needed to pave the way for a clean-up.

The alternative is a cop-out in the face of some desperately needed police work.

Passing thunder

FINANCE Minister Trevor Manuel hit the nail on the head in his mini-budget speech when he said that the current global financial crisis would pass. Referring to “the thunder [that] will pass”, he said the challenge is to deal with the difficult times in the meanwhile.

In the UK, where the crisis has hit much harder, the government has made available a host of training programmes to smaller companies. This intervention serves a number of objectives, not least imparting skills to ready people when the upswing happens.

Taxi troubles

SOMETHING is not quite right at the newly-built minibus taxi rank in Church Street.

Ostensibly built for the long-distance sector, it would seem only Durban taxis are actually using it.

Word has it that part of the problem is objections from Natalia across the road to the increased activity.

The exact nature of the objection is not clear though, and we don’t know if it is a general complaint from the powers that be, or from individuals within the building.

Whatever the case, we’re amused that government officials — the servants of the public — have the gall to object to the day-to-day activities of the people who pay their salaries.

Sharks triumph

IT’S been a long drought, but Sharks supporters finally had reason to slake their thirst in style on Saturday.

The contest was a monumentally tight battle that the Sharks deservedly won. Judging by the enthusiastic response at a braai, the man of the match was not the prodigiously talented Francois Steyn, but the dependable Stefan Terblanche who did everything, and more, asked of him.

Satellite woes

SO, the weather gets the blame for the broken DSTV feed during the first half of Saturday’s Currie Cup final? Credit then to the technicians or, as it had on the screen, “technians”, for sorting out the weather.#

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