As seems to be the case more frequently in South Africa at the moment, I honestly do not know if I should laugh or cry. Put aside the usual stories of neglected power stations and the poorly maintained grid. Forget for a moment the escalating electricity rates and how the country would rather export electricity, at a loss, than support the local economy. We’ve all, more or less, come to terms with the fact that electricity is and endangered commodity in South Africa. Load shedding is a reality and most of us have come to appreciate that saving electricity is now as much a part of life as washing behind our ears before we get out the shower. Which is to say most of us, but not all of us, do it.
Now we all know the tree huggers and bunny cuddlers of the Western Cape love nothing more than a good environmental challenge. If they are not out petitioning for an environmental impact assessment for the wireless communication equipment on the roof of the nearest mall, then they are out protesting my proposals to pave the beaches and hollow out Table Mountain, turning it into a nuclear waste disposal facility. (still a potentially lucrative venture in my humble opinion). But I digress … These conservational enthusiasts have managed to tackle the challenge of conservation of electricity with such fervour that the City of Cape Town is now in a position where the reduced revenue from the diminished electricity bills is impacting revenue to such an extent that the City of Cape Town is no longer able to meet its budget. Ironically the savings are not coming from the high volume commercial and industrial users but from the domestic community.
Executive deputy mayor Ian Neilson says “The problem is in the peak period between 5pm and 8pm,” Neilson said. “We would love people to reduce consumption in that period, but we’re more than happy for them to use electricity at 3 o’clock in the morning.” So what Neilson is implying that in spite of the inability to meet demand during peak times there is plenty of capacity at 3am, and the problem simply lies with WHEN the average domestic consumer is using power.
Now the cherry on the what-the-fuck cake:
Neilson also states: “It’s nothing to be alarmed about yet, but if the decline continues, the poor will suffer the brunt of a stretched service budget.”
“As an ongoing trend, it does mean that in future it’s less likely that the council will be able to provide as many free and subsidised services as we do now,”
I would like to congratulate the Captonians on their world renowned conservationist attitudes and successfully stepping up to the popping crease when our government has asked for a concerted contribution towards solving one of the many problems that we face in South Africa today. So in the true spirit of the new South Africa we have once again managed to simply trade one problem for another and managed to screw the poor in the process.
What will become of our country where civil servants do us a huge favour just by getting out of bed in the morning and then respond with scorn when we so much as lift an eyebrow at their lethargic attitude towards customer service? A government so enamoured with stuffing their own pockets before the end of their term, that they do not know the meaning of the word constituents or civil service. And maybe even worst of all a constituency that ignorantly votes these same idiots in for another term so they may blissfully play another round of government wheel of fortune where the prizes range from luxury vehicles and free first class international travel, to ludicrous salaries and bonuses and Olympic size fire extinguishers.
How long can we blame legacy for greed and corruption and the appointment of incompetence? How did we end up with a public service that is an asylum for inefficiency?
How long can we tolerate the blatant sabotage of education simply because our government knows that should they achieve any success in addressing the high priority concern of educating our country they risk losing those same constituents that keep voting them into power out of ignorance.
In closing I would like to pose a question to our “leaders”; what are you doing at 3am?