Home Opinion and Features Eagerly awaiting my 6000 salary cheques

Eagerly awaiting my 6000 salary cheques

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In a recent television interview, the Premier of the province explained how the bulk infrastructure for Kimberley was built in 1947 to cater for only 16,000 privileged folk. However, in 1994 – thanks to the government’s RDP programme – 72,000 households are connected. But is this actually a good thing?

The Roman aqueducts are an impressive feat of engineering and architecture. They date back to around the 1st century BCE and were used to transport water across vast distances, supplying cities with a reliable water source. They are still standing today. Picture: Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

THIS past week has been mathematically challenging for me. I have been trying to figure out how old I will be in May 2524 and wondering – if I can manage to impress my bosses just enough – how many salary cheques will I receive between now and then.

For the record, I am pleased to report that, with around 6,000 salary cheques coming my way between now and then, I am quite looking forward to spending my millions in the newly revamped, restored Diamond City.

After all, if I understood the news reports from last week correctly, our esteemed leader gauged that it could take 500 years to fix this city’s infrastructure. At least he was brave enough to give us a timeline, speaking on national television, nogal.

I mean, usually officials can be so evasive, but think about it, as of this week we no longer have to wait an entire, protracted 500 years. No, as of today it’s only 499 years and 353 days to go – gosh, how time flies!

I mean, Jan van Riebeeck landed at the Cape 372 years ago, and as far as I know, he never had any of Kimberley’s sewage plants upgraded either; but I am no historian.

Yes, of course I am just teasing. No one could have thought that our Premier was serious when he blurted out that fixing the city would take half a millennium, surely. I would like to believe that the ‘500-year’ quip was an off-the-cuff, jokingly sarcastic remark brought on by being cornered by a very awkward question.

No one likes to be cornered, especially those who thrive on being respected and adored.

However, though we could maybe overlook the ‘500-year’ wisecrack, what I did find a bit concerning were the statements that were aimed at justifying the sewage crisis in Kimberley.

The Premier did emphasise that “proper context is important” and then went on to explain how the bulk infrastructure for Kimberley was built in 1947 to cater for only 16,000 privileged folk. However, in 1994 – thanks to the government’s RDP programme – 72,000 households have clean running water and sewerage connections in their homes, and this includes the previously disadvantaged.

I don’t have to transcribe the interview, it’s on YouTube for the whole world to see … and so are the comments below the video.

A few comments caught my eye. One person remarked: “The infrastructure worked for 60 years with no issues. If your excuse is for 16,000 and now 72,000 then why did you not improve the infrastructure accordingly?”

Another comment went: “So 30 years wasn’t enough to address the issues that arose with connecting the previously disconnected households to the network. Now that you are aware of the issue, how many more years do you need?”

I know that answer … It’s 500 years, duh!

As far as I can see, what these comments are hinting at is a simple, observable law. It’s everywhere!

I mean, if a country just started printing tons and tons of money and just handed it out to the previously impoverished, what would happen? In Weimar Germany between 1921-1923, the government kept printing money to pay war reparations and debts. This led to hyperinflation, and at its peak, prices were doubling every few days.

Keep adding electrical appliances to a plug connection and you’ll quickly learn that overloaded electrical circuits can generate excessive heat, which can melt the insulation around the wires and “fwooom” … let there be light and unplanned braai fires.

All I am saying is that it’s a fatal error to do things that look good on a billboard, or sound impressive at a rally, but that actually do no good in reality.

Having 72,000 people hooked up to an overloaded, inefficient, useless sewage system is not impressive at all.

Another thing, was it only me or did someone else find it alarming when the statement was made that the sewage problems are not unique to Kimberley, but rather that all metros have the same issues when the “previously disadvantaged” were connected to the bulk sewer lines in different metros?

Are we to understand by that statement that nowhere in the country, in any of the metros, could anyone in charge figure out that capacity needed to be increased before new connections were made?

Are we to understand that those messing up in Kimberley are incompetent on a larger scale than just the Northern Cape? That would be worrying would it not?

Now follow my reasoning … see if it makes sense.

A friend told me a while back that he’s lost all hope for this country. He told me then that when the next election comes around, he and his friends are going to get some meat, charcoal and plenty of the amber beverage, and just have a lekker braai day. He said that he was not going to waste his time voting.

But consider that in 2019, the party that won the elections received 10,026,475 votes, which accounted for 57.5% of the total votes cast. That seems like an impressive majority.

But did you know that the eligible voting population in South Africa for the 2019 National and Provincial Elections was around 27 million voters? Around 10 million of them did not register to vote. Then, of the remaining lot who could vote, the turnout was 66%, with 17,437,379 people actually casting their votes.

Now, just to be silly, subtract the number of winning votes from the number of eligible voters, and you will come up with a number of people who – possibly – did not want that party to win. Yes … that’s almost 17 million people.

I wonder what would have happened in 2019 if voters had not allowed despondency or indifference to keep them from the voting booths. I wonder if it would have made a difference to the ever expanding lakes of poopy water outside our city.

I wonder if someone else, some other group, could have cut the waiting time for a solution to the sewage crisis from 500 years to something more reasonable – even 30 years, for example.

I wonder.

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