A Shocking Discovery

As each new batch of Bruce Sutherland’s superb work is released onto the web on the City of Cape Town’s 2010 Gallery page, the images circulate around Cape Town and the broader environment by email and make their way onto blogs, usually without any credit for the photographer.
But that’s not all. In addition, there are the usual snide remarks about the costs incurred and the disruption caused by the construction going on around the city.
“CaptainNull” and his posterous blog is the perfect example:

 Wow….  I think our water rates is going to go up along with our electricity rate, but it sure looks purty.

That’s exactly right. At the Cape Town Stadium they are *shock* watering the grass that they are growing on the flat bit between the stands and what’s more, they have fitted lights so that people can play football – even if it gets dark!!! Like… at night, for example, I would imagine.

What on earth are they thinking????

Don’t they realise that we, the Cape Town ratepayers, are paying for that water and that electricity?
How dare they? This is an outrage worth several exclamation marks!!!!!

But that’s not all. Being the investigative sort that I am, I dug further into this issue and quickly found other places in Cape Town get watered and lit up using our money as well! Even other stadiums.
But that’s not all. I also discovered that the Council was paying for city buses to be filled with diesel using the cash we give them and the they (the City Council) are facilitating such diverse activities as road-sweeping, provision of healthcare, housing and even policing – (almost) directly from the ratepayers’ pockets!!!!! I was aghast.

I realised that suddenly, what started out as a mini-rant on potential copyright infringement had snowballed into something bigger than I could ever have imagined. When I look at it now, it seems so obvious, but for years, people – myself included – just haven’t seen the wood for the trees.
These so-called “services” “provided” by the City Council are actually paid for by the city ratepayers.

But that’s not all. I can officially reveal that I have discovered the same practices appear to be taking place in several other cities (well, one was a village) across South Africa, with unsuspecting citizens literally giving their hard earned Rands to their local councils each month, only for those same councils to splurge the money on education, parks and road maintenance.

There’s more to come on this story, I’m sure. But I felt that it was time that people learned exactly what their rates are being used for. If I disappear or don’t blog again, assume that Dan Plato has caught up with me (perhaps using shady henchmen also paid for with my money).
In that eventuality, someone else must please carry on the fight against this heinous injustice.

Questions, questions…

I will be expecting a lot of them this evening at the JDI charity quiz evening at Cafe Roux in Noordhoek  this evening.

The money raised will be shared between the Bulungula Incubator in the Transkei and Ferndale Primary in Ottery.

The Bulungula Incubator strives to be a catalyst for the creation of a vibrant and sustainable rural community. One of their focus areas is Education – the rehabilitation of their local Primary School as well as establishing an Early Learning Centre. The Primary School Building collapsed 3 years ago and the teachers hardly came to work – only 5 days taught in 2007. There was no food, furniture, books, toilets and the average attendance was only 40 percent.
In short it was and still is dysfunctional.  JDI are striving to make it functional! 

Ferndale Primary School in Ottery is much closer to home and far more functional but their hardworking, dedicated staff members could do with some recognition. Funds raised will go toward making the staff room a little more comfortable for staff on their much deserved breaks.

Education is, without doubt, the most important factor in influencing any nation’s future, but particularly this one. And teachers are, without doubt, the key to getting a decent education and are, without doubt, hopelessly underpaid for their important work.
JDI have worked on over 200 projects across South Africa, improving the lives and hopes of thousands of people and I’m very happy to be going along, quaffing expensive beer and (hopefully) winning some big prizes while supporting their excellent work.

I would invite you along, but I’m told that it was sold out over a month ago. Apologies and all that.

SARS block 6000 miles… – reinstate access to 2oceansvibe in November net crackdown

Shocking news from a regular 6000 miles… commenter:
In a heinous act of censorship, SARS – those people who very efficiently take our money off us all year and then tell us how great they are because they give us a little bit of our own money back – have blocked access to this website from their premises.

According to our source, each month, SARS “chooses” the 50 top sites “to be investigated” which essentially means “to be blocked” and 6000 miles… has found itself on the November list – probably due to its huge popularity amongst SARS employees. I’m not entirely sure that huge popularity amongst SARS employees is something to crow about, since they are presumably mainly grey tax accountants and over-zealous IT workers who apparently have nothing better to do than block decent Cape Town blogs.

Meanwhile, perhaps demonstrating a lack of huge popularity amongst SARS employees, access to Seth Rotherham’s 2oceansvibe.com has been reinstated at the revenue service. Or maybe this just indicates that there is a plan to bring in some sort of Tits & Ass tax in the next budget.

I would urge all SARS employees to access this site via mobile technology as often as possible so that they don’t miss out on the latest news and information, pictures of my kids and amusing stories from around the world.

6000 miles… is, of course, fully enabled for mobile viewing.

UPDATE: Apparently, the thousands of SARS officials surfing 6000 miles…at work was slowing down the whole eFiling process by overloading the servers with quality blog posts. Really.

World of Birds revisited

It had been a while since we had been out to Hout Bay’s World of Birds and been crawled all over by squirrel monkeys, so we met up with friends and headed out there yesterday. Maybe it’s because we’re nearing the end of winter now and not yet into tourist season, but I have to say that the place needs some TLC desperately. Muddy paths, broken cages, damaged signs and bins, overgrown bushes. Nothing huge, but  the whole place just needed a good clean up and some work and money put in to it.
And, at R155 for the three of us (K-pu was a freebie) they should really have the money to do something about it. Although maybe they’re suffering in the credit crunch as well. Some big corporate sponsorship wouldn’t go amiss. Investec World of Birds, Woolworths World of Birds or maybe Rainbow Chickens World of Birds. Or maybe not.

That said, the animals all looked well kept, happy and healthy as ever and the kids really enjoyed themselves, and at the end of the day, I guess those are the things that are important. Thus – for me – it still remains a recommended attraction for visitors to Cape Town – especially those with kids. Alex was particularly taken by the parrots and the promise of an ice cream at the end of the visit.

I tried to get photos with the “new” camera, but it’s tough when you have your own little monkey hanging off your arm and another one chasing a turkey. Here are my best efforts. I particularly like the Kookaburra shot.
I’m no big fan of things Australian, but I’d love to taste one of them for real.

Winner!

News just in – I have won $25,000 in an SMS competition!! That’s serious moolah in SA: R200,000 no less. (Well, actually very slightly less, given that we’re running at $1 = R7.91 this morning, but let’s round it up and be happy.) I don’t actually remember entering the competition in question, but that is of limited interest to me or to anyone else given that I have now won it.

You have been drawn at 9:23 and won the check No. 509578!
Call 00239981103 to know the amount and withdraw it.

I called the number, which is based in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe – a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea; a place I have never visited, never mind entered an sms competition in – and the news was good: $25,000 good, according to the wonderfully cordial if rather heavily accented gentleman called Phillipe on the other end of the line.

And now all I need to do is to verify my bank details by sending them a measly $100 and they will pop the $25,000 plus my $100 into my account by return. Apparently, they have been on the receiving end of fraudulent transactions and that’s why this step is necessary. As I said to Phillipe, what is this world coming to when people try to trick each other in this way? Phillipe was momentarily quiet, presumably as he considered the misery that such individuals may cause to their unwitting victims.
It was a bonding moment, I feel, that he too felt my anguish at the evil that men do.

Anyway, I got his bank details and I contacted my bank, asking them to help arrange the $100 transfer to Phillipe. And that’s where things started to go wrong. My bank refused, saying that they were not going to allow me to spend my money on a fishing trip. I got angry – this is my money and where the hell did they get the idea about me going fishing, anyway?
Sure, São Tomé and Príncipe has some wonderful aquatic life and is, in fact, famed for its fantastic seafood, but I have no desire to actually go there in order to partake in a pastime which, in all honesty, leaves me rather cold. My brother would be there like a shot, but then he didn’t win the competition, did he?

I asked to speak with the manager, but the message was just the same. A point-blank refusal. He wouldn’t even call Phillipe and explain his reasoning. So I have written to the head office to complain. Idiots. 
Meanwhile, I have withdrawn R920, which I have now converted into US dollars and I am posting it to Phillipe. I have also photocopied my credit card and sent that along too – so now he has my bank details and the $100. I phoned him and I told him – sometimes a little trust in this world is all that’s required.
He seemed overjoyed – he couldn’t stop laughing.

And I will also be overjoyed when I get my $25,100 in a week or two. Bring on the good times!