Yes, it was a JoJoke

2019-04-02 12:28

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If any readers were perturbed by our report on Monday that residents have to register their water tanks, they can relax.

It was our April Fool’s story.

So, their water tanks are safe from the sneaky user tax we wrote about. Safe, for now ...

We wrote that the department of water conservation at national government — there is no such department — had issued a statement in which they called for a levy to be introduced on all homes using tanks to collect rainwater run-off effective from April 1.

The head of department who we named as Ngiyadlala Nje (Zulu for “just joking”) said they needed to supplement income for beleaguered municipalities, so water tanks would be effectively taxed at a rate of R100 per tank per every 1 000 litres stored each month.

We also gave readers a complicated mathematical formula to use to calculate the capacity of their tanks.

A few people (no names mentioned!) called in to ask if the Stage 8 load shedding schedule we published on Monday was our April Fool’s story. The sad news is that this is completely true and no joke at all.

Others got in on the fun on Facebook, saying we had managed to pull the wool over their eyes, although some feared we may have given the government a new idea on how to tax citizens.

Other media outlets also got in on the April Fool’s act. News24 ran a story that SAB was planning to shut down the craft beer industry as it was eating into their profits.

Business Insider reported that some publications held back on April Fool’s jokes citing the problem of fake news as a reason not to participate in the annual foolery.

A handful of organisations picked up the baton, coming up with jokes about their products and brands, one of which went down well, and one that didn’t quite impress.

All part of April Fool's Day pranks

The South African Air Force (SAAF) announced a new way to fund its operations: an “airborne” cryptocurrency mining initiative called SAAFCoin.

SAAFCoin would be mined in-flight, the air force said, using excess electricity on board its aircraft. Eventually, it said, the new currency could cover its flying costs — and perhaps even turn a slight profit.

Retailer Pick n Pay put some effort into a complex prank that came with a press release, tweets, and a video.

In a world first, it said, customers would now be able to taste-test its products right on their phones.

“Using world class nanotechnology, the functionality allows us to transduce the olfactory and sensory elements,” said its marketing head John Bradshaw in the press release.

“In plain English, that means we use your phone’s touchscreen to create a response from your nervous system that allows you to taste and smell.”

Pick n Pay also stressed that, being in beta testing, there could be some trouble with the app — so it was worth licking the phone again and again if the first attempt didn’t work.

Car brand Audi announced a name change in South Africa — to Odi — because it is easier to pronounce.

It also said its iconic four-ring logo would be replaced with a single big ring.

“The new design symbolises the unified approach that our brand will embark on in an effort to be one with our South African consumers,” it said.

Television news channel eNCA reported exclusively that the Springbok rugby team would be changing its name to the Zebras, and showed off the team’s new kit. It linked the name change to the fact that the Springboks have a black captain, and said black and white stripes “are symbolic of all South Africans”.

Technology news website TechCentral reported that Eskom was dumping regular rotational electricity rationing in favour of week-long blackouts a suburb at a time.

This would mean much less frequent load shedding, it said — but people would be without power for a week at a time.

The joke was not well received.

The breakfast TV show Expresso reported that “The Mobile Institute of SA” will institute data shedding based on the prefix for cellphone numbers, with each one being denied access to the data network for two hours per day. — Witness Reporter.

• newsed@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  april fools day
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