Why do we wait for the late?

2007-12-10 00:00

THIS business of waiting for dignitaries who habitually arrive late for appointments has to stop. It is rude, disrespectful and inconsiderate to other guests.

To expect these guests to wait for one tardy dignitary is just not on. There’s no logic in waiting for a delayed dignitary to start proceedings — what significant role do they play?

Is this not how a culture of acquiescence is created, one that kow-tows to political office and subliminally help to validate inexcusable behaviour? By adhering to the prevailing protocol, are we then not helping to entrench the very thing most people rail against — the abuse of official privilege or power or perks?

Perhaps one needs to ask why their presence is so sought after. Is it because there is a fallacious belief that a high-profile presence makes an event more attractive to the media? Generally speaking, an event on a news diary has a better than good chance of appearing in a newspaper. The reason that stories about high-profile people are published more often is because said dignitaries normally call on specially designated underlings employed to shine up image and ego — including arranging “photo opportunities”.

That’s why we wait for these people to arrive, the irritation notwithstanding.

Add the small matter of a tight to-do list, including being at another event, and annoyance levels inexorably start to rise. Unfortunately, the real loser is the reporter who is not particularly well disposed to the story, still to be written. All things being equal, a perfectly adequate article will come of it, but it is unlikely to be more than that, and certainly less than what it should be.

Perhaps the time has come to treat VIPs like the ordinary people they are. Why should we inconvenience the great majority and, to boot, bow and scrape when they do eventually arrive, to whimper our appreciation for, well, actually arriving.

The fault clearly lies with this system of obsequiousness, and perhaps it’s time for proceedings to start when they’re supposed to, in deference to those who are on time.

Delays are inevitable, but for those who do come late, it’s a matter of catching up, even if it means waiting till the end to hear the beginning.

PCB Electronic newsletter a hit

AFTER months of discussion and planning, the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business launched its much anticipated electronic newsletter last week.

Consensus is that the newsletter, an electronic version of Biznews, is an unqualified success, due largely to the behind-the-scenes work of Candice Warr at the PCB and First Net, a division of First Technology, which is making it happen.

The electronic newsletter will replace the much-beloved Biznews that will now be published in each quarter, in expanded form.

Luck of the living

IN what turned out to be an unintended encounter, a Pietermaritzburg trucking company and the Howick-based national director of conservation of Wessa met under less than ideal circumstances on Van Reenen’s Pass recently.

Heading east, the Bakers Transport truck lost control, and careened across the west-bound carriageway, leaving Brian Havemann not enough time to even apply brakes before smacking the truck-and-trailer combo.

Fortunately for Havemann, the point of contact was the linkage between the truck and trailer, which probably saved his life. The force of the collision catapulted the bakkie into the air and over, before rolling to a stop about 30 metres away.

Miraculously, Havemann walked away relatively unscathed, save for a badly cut hand and some abdominal bruises.

Old friends

VERNON van Heerden, formerly the general manager of Key Pietermaritzburg, definitely has a sense of the occasion. Firstly, he sprang a surprise on his cronies by putting in an appearance at the PCB’s annual Christmas lunch, and secondly, colour-coded himself to match the yellow wall of the Royal Show hall in which the function was held.

It was good seeing that he has not lost any of his mischievousness, and that his sense of humour is still intact, despite retiring from the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s largest dealerships.

Wedding bells

A LARGE guest list was on hand to witness the marriage of Witness business editor Kavith Harrilall and his lovely bride Yajna over the weekend.

The ceremony was as colourful as it was moving in what was a wonderful celebration of Hindu culture, laced with a healthy dose of laughter and joy.

We were impressed by the scale of things, and wished we were able to spirit away some of the breyani that almost stole the show.

Our best wishes to the couple, who deserve every bit of happiness and prosperity coming their way.

ABSA opening

THE official opening of the new Absa complex was a swanky affair, attended by a wide range of people, in and around the city.

The fire swingers had a full tilt at the weather gods, and the drizzle failed to dampen spirits.

Judging by the composition and calibre of the audience, Absa either calls on, or plans to call on, some big names in the city.


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