Flagpole

I’m still not completely convinced that this isn’t a late April Fools joke.

Because while in a country with no money, massive social and economic issues, no electricity, widespread poverty and rampant unemployment, it doesn’t seem like making a joke about the government spending R22,000,000 on a big flag would be particularly amusing, it’s also exactly the sort of thing that the government would actually do.

And that wouldn’t be funny either.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I see all the arguments they’ve made:

The flag, as the brand image of the country, needs to be highly recognised by the citizens.
This has the potential to unite people as it becomes a symbol of unity and common identity.
The project is envisaged to contribute towards nation-building and social cohesion. 

But I would say that about 100% of the citizens already recognise the flag. And I’d also say that our shared experiences of things like loadshedding and unchecked government corruption are more likely to unite us and be a symbol of our common identity than this project. And that being the case, I’m sure that the spending of this R22 million will absolutely encourage nation-building and social cohesion, as the citizenry come together as one to ask the burning question:

What the actual fuck are you doing spending R22 million on a flag?
Just. Stop.

So is this whole story just a joke? I don’t get it. At all.

Next week, South Africa spends R49million on a giant hamster.
(I just made that up, so it’s probably not going to happen.) (Probably.)

Census debacle

We have to do a census thing. It’s been at least 10 years since the last one and we need to stand up and be counted – for reasons. There’s an option to do it online (thank the heavens) and I gladly grasped that with both hands, so that the beagle wouldn’t eat the local volunteer. But then I noticed that the URL it sent me to ended with gov.za and my heart sank.
It’ll be shit, I thought.
And it is.
Because in true South African government style, the UI is just horrible, nothing works properly and the things it is asking me are… well… bizarre.

Like:

So, I put our house number (let’s say it’s 25) and then “House”, because we live in a house (I didn’t think it actually needed to know what colour it was from the Plascon range) and now – even though it said that it was going to ask for my address later in the process – it thinks my address is “25 House”. Which is going to get it rejected immediately.
Perhaps a field asking for – I don’t know – my “Address” might have been a better way forward. Because no-one wanting your details in any other circumstance asks:

OK, and could I have your name, unit/flat number and further description of the structure/unit, please?

Do they?

And who lives at “500 Green House”, anyway? The SA Post Office isn’t going to be able to deliver anything to you with an address like that, are they? Mind you, the SA Post Office is so dysfunctional and wrecked by corruption and theft that it isn’t really able to deliver anything to anyone anyway, so why not go for 500 Green House? Just for the giggles.

And it’s already a LOT of work. Especially if you have moved from “8 House” to “25 House” since the last census. Which we have. So I tell it that we’ve moved and it asks “where from?”, but won’t allow me to enter anything but Athlone, Belhar or Bellville. So now I’ve moved from Belhar simply because at least it’s an answer I can give, and it asks “Why did you move?”.

I mean, have you seen Belhar?

But more seriously, I selected that the household had moved. Just moved house. No divorce, no fire, no death or destruction: we just moved house. But then, even though it already knows exactly who lives in my household, I have to jump through all the same hoops for my wife. And my son. And my daughter. One of us now comes from Athlone. I think it’s the missus.

Ugh. Just populate the form for me.
I don’t have time for 176 drop down menus for each person – most of which don’t work (the menus, not the people) – when I’ve already given you all the same information, anyway.

And I wasn’t even halfway through the very first section.

To add insult to injury, the site then crashed. And I can’t get back in. So, long story short, I’ve given up. I’ll try again tomorrow now I’m more aware of the size of the mountain of bullshit between me and the finish line.
I will prepare with coffee and biltong and lock myself away in my office until it’s all done.

Right now though: some football, I think.

Day 657 – Webcams

We’ve covered the Isle of Man webcams quite extensively on here, not least when some kind soul popped out into the cold to wipe down one of the lenses for me, using – it turned out – a duster on a pole.

Amazing.

Well, now I’ve stumbled across a channel on Youtube on which you can watch some South African (actually exclusively Western Cape) webcams – live.
Strand, Clifton, Ceres, Milnerton and Muizenbeagle are all represented with impressive HD feeds:

…(albeit occasional wonky horizons), and so you can check out the surf, the chicks and the fynbos from the comfort of your home.

Click through to their website and you can view other places like Durban, Pretoria, Kruger National Park and even Tau Lodge where we went, back in… (yikes)… 2007!

Happy viewing, viewers!

Day 611 – Travel

Twitter: “But it’s ridiculous! People are tested before they can travel!”

And yet, at Schipol…

Link

South African Minister of Health: “Travel restrictions are unjustified”:

Also the South African Minister of Health: “We may restrict travel”:

Trump bans travel from parts of Africa this time last year. Joe Biden:

Image

Today, Joe Biden announces ban on travel from parts of Africa:

I know, I know. Cheap shots. Low hanging fruit etc etc.

Maybe it’s just people called Joe…

But also massive hypocrisy and many clear indications that – almost 2 years into this whole mess – we (and by we, I mean politicians) haven’t come up with any decent methods of dealing with it. It’s all a bit scary.

Look, the likelihood is that this variant will be all over the world already. Just because it was only detected now, doesn’t mean it wasn’t already widely circulating.

But yes, I do support the bans: for the moment, at least.
Anything which buys any healthcare system any extra time – and therefore information – has to be used when we are dealing with new, unknown variants.

And then the political aspect, whereby the government has to be seen to be doing something. When BJ didn’t close the flights from India back in May, he lost a lot of credibility (yes, yes, I know) regarding the way the government was dealing with Covid.

People used it as a tool to avoid following guidelines: “Why should I bother if Boris is just letting the virus in anyway?”. I’ve said countless times during this whole thing that being a President or Prime Minister is not a job I’d want during a pandemic. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You are not going to please all of the people any of the time.

But then there’s an important caveat here: when the statistics, the information and the experts suggest that the limitations are not required, then they need to be lifted just as quickly as they were instituted. And that’s not an own goal; it’s not saying that they were wrong to put them into place in the first place: that’s acting on new information and data. Nothing wrong with that.
It must just happen as soon as some sort of all-clear is sounded, not 6 months down the line.