Difficult decisions made easier

The biggest ever petrol price increase in South African history kicks in tonight at midnight. At present, the (government-regulated) petrol price is estimated to go up by an additional R3.50 for a litre of the good stuff. And while that might be nought pounds noughty-nought to you, that’s a massive amount to all South Africans, representing an overnight increase of around 16.6%.

And of course, that increase will be felt by businesses as well, and they will pass on their higher costs onto their consumers and so your man on the street is going to get smacked with even more increased prices for… well… for everything.

And that means that even more individuals and families are going to have to make some difficult decisions as to what they can and can’t afford, and as to what has to be let go.

Fortunately, one company has just helpfully raised their head above the parapet for me.

Yesterday, we were informed that my daughter’s music lesson this evening at a local music school (let’s call it the College of Stone for the purposes of this blog post) was cancelled due to loadshedding this evening.

I was actually impressed with their organisation. Letting us know what was going on over 24 hours in advance. Nice work.

However, due to some magic deity smiling down upon us, there is no loadshedding this evening.

So I call the good College people this afternoon just to check that the lesson is now going ahead as usual and they say no, because they “can’t reinstate a lesson once it’s been cancelled”.

Thankfully (for them), they can still charge us for it though.

Now, I wasn’t happy at the lesson being cancelled, even more so at still having to pay for it, but it’s not the College of Stone’s fault that loadshedding happens, and while my daughter shouldn’t have to miss out on her lesson thanks to the crappy local electricity monopoly and years of horrific corruption therein, nor should the College of Stone have to lose out on their income. I do get that.

But now there is no loadshedding – it’s what passes for a “good electricity day” in South Africa – and they’re still not providing the service we’re paying them for, even though there’s now no reason for them not to… well, to paraphrase Radiohead:

When I am King making those difficult decisions, they will be first against the wall.

I’m well used to crappy service in South Africa, but this is a new low. The only positive is that it does make one of those upcoming unfortunate decisions a whole lot easier.