South Africa unites against e-toll

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A nation united against e-tolling

Mention e-toll fees in any conversation and a tsunami of vitriolic responses follows immediately. Citizens aren’t shy to voice their opinions on e-toll fees. Public sentiment has been overwhelmingly negative since the very first mention of e-tolling back in 2007. The general feeling is that we pay sufficient other taxes including steep fuel levies to cover road maintenance and upgrades.

Symbols of Oppression

E-toll gantries have become a symbol of oppression to many road users who feel the Gauteng government and the ANC aren’t heeding the collective voice of the people. People of all colours and creed are united in their resolve to not be bullied into registering and paying for e-toll. The last time such a large and diverse group of people were opposed and stood against a single cause, it was when they fought for the end of apartheid.

Threats: Pay or else…

On May 20, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced drastic methods to cut e-toll fees by half in some cases. He also warned that non-payers would have their licence discs withheld in future. This announcement caused quite an uproar with many calling his bluff, suggesting it’ll be illegal practice to refuse the re-issuing or renewal of licence discs because of non-payment of e-toll dues.

A resounding ‘no’ to e-tolls

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) have called on government to abolish e-tolls. In a recent study conducted by Ipsos “the vast majority of Gauteng motorists (74%) were of the opinion that the government should find an alternative to the e-toll system in Gauteng.”

Government’s seemingly unwillingness to listen to the cries of the people may result in the ANC losing ground in the next elections. We, the people of South Africa have a voice and a say and we want it to be heard. We want a government that will listen to its people and respect their opinions.


Mmusi Maimane – Immune to Insults?

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                                                         … to insults by now

The pathetic impulse to drag a decent role model into the gutter tells us more about the draggers than the dragged. Mostly, it tells us about their familiarity with the gutter. The filth angle has been a weapon of every racist, jealous, base, xenophobic attack throughout history: The filthy Jews and the dirty Serbs, the greasy Italians and the dirty Afrikaners, the messy blacks and the louse-riddled Irish, the diseased Aboriginals and the Vietnamese that never wash, the infection bearing gypsies, dirty homosexuals, lazy Palestinians and smelly Native Americans, …. and so on ad infinitum. This is prejudice, plain and simple, as any even halfway informed person knows it is nonsense. It serves as justification of cruelty and wickedness, because those that it is done to deserve it as they are so dirty, dishonest or lacking in intelligence.

Yet propaganda wars have been lost and won on the use of this most primitive tactic – the dissemination of bias. This brings us to Kenney Kunene’s vitriolic attack on Maimane. Maimane had criticised Kunene for appearing on T.V with five of his fifteen girlfriends, calling it a “destructive example” of what success can do. Kunene’s Tweet inevitably slides into the usual muck, the threat to gang f*** Maimane’s wife.

Msusi Maimane’s values and vision.

  • Maimane can make a seriously good speech. He is well informed, but more than that, he can construct a coherent talk that makes sense of tricky conundrums.
  • He is a man of faith. (He went to a Catholic school that he feels empowered him and instilled Christian values. He has a Master’s degree in Theology.)
  • He longs for and believes in the possibility of a South Africa that is ethnically inclusive. (His parents are Xhosa and Tswana, and his wife is white.)
  • He is informed and insightful. (He has a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Rumour also has it that he reads a lot and favours biography.)
  • He has a certain ‘gravitas’ – no bombast and no generic rhetoric. (Sheer force of personality carries him along.)

His best chance of success as leader of the D.A., however lies in the fact that he believes in all that is best and right in South Africa, without being naive about what is wrong, or feeling the defensive need to deny it.

Mmusi Maimane – Is he the one?

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                                   … and remove molehills

Whatever else, the landscape of South African politics has changed irrevocably. We thought that would happen when Mamphela Rampele, the respected academic, threw in her lot with what is still seen as a woolly white liberal party, the Democratic Alliance. But that was one of the most short-lived collaborations in history; and one of the most embarrassing. Try as she might to wrest some dignity from the debacle, Zille’s human insight and political nous took a huge knock, and Ramphele’s credibility (and that of all thinking South Africans) has been damaged irreparably in the eyes of the world.

But, 35 year old Maimane rushes to the rescue … we hope.

Rhetoric rules the day!

The growing suspicion that Barak Obama is a bit of a spineless figurehead does not alter the fact that Middle America still voted him in; and forever after American red neck consciousness has altered: It is a little more open to the possibility of critical thinking about stereotypes and prejudice. But in our case, the consciousness is speeding backwards at a dizzying speed. Nobody seems to realise that racism is not something whites do: Xenophobia is racism! Discrimination against whites in the workplace and job market, academic bursary availability and housing/health/ municipal rate paying and child benefit payments,  to mention but a few, is racism. When we start justifying discrimination in any form, the next step is not far away: burn the books, ban freedom of speech, take their property and round up the Jews/gypsies/handicapped/ Tutsis/ Serbs/ Communists/ French Royalty/ albinos/Protestants /girls/homosexuals/etc.


Biased attitudes may alter yet

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger.”
[William Shakespeare, Henry V]

Let’s face it, Zille couldn’t win: If she doesn’t dance African style at a function she’s too white; if she does, she is just sucking up pretending to be black. If she succeeds in certain areas she is just doing it for the white electorate; if she fails in some she is just doing it for the black electorate. She, unlike any other leading politician, is not allowed to fail at all. Her lack of corruption and her work ethic is resented for being too white. Her failures are resented for being willfully selective.

MAIMANE – May he be given the chance

Hopefully Maimane will be free of these suspicions and able to get on with the job: the job of meeting real needs for real people in spite of (because he won’t be allowed to do it because of) being a member of the DA. Maybe people will finally assess the fruit (“By your fruit will you be known,” says the Bible) not the Party that authors it.

Imitate the action of a tiger – it will make everybody pull up their socks!

Image courtesy of  suffragio

Off the Grid – Hotel Verde

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Hotel Celebrates Earth Hour Weekly

The award-winning and internationally acclaimed Hotel Verde takes the concept of living off the grid a step further by celebrating Earth Hour* weekly. On Wednesday evenings all non-essential lights and appliances are switched off and the venue is lit by candles and solar-powered jars. Guests are treated to a live jazz show, an electricity free buffet and a la carte menu.

Africa’s Greenest Hotel

When it comes to living off the grid and embracing sustainable energy, Hotel Verde, the greenest hotel on the African continent, proudly leads the pack. This 4-star hotel, conveniently situated only 400m from Cape Town International Airport, showcases state-of-the-art innovations and technologies pertaining to eco-friendly building practices and design, sustainable operations, and effective usage of water and electricity.

Tripadvisor added Hotel Verde to their 2015 Travellers’ Choice list of 25 Top Bargain Hotels in South Africa. The hotel’s certified with Heritage Platinum for its Environmental Management System, and is also the first hotel in Africa to be certified with Platinum LEED™ for New Construction. They also received the Best City Hotel award at the 2014 World Travel Market in London.

Harvesting Green Energy

The hotel’s commitment to harvesting renewable energy is evident – it uses 3 vertical axis wind turbines and 220 solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Power generating gym equipment and regenerative-drive elevators feed electricity back into the grid when in use. Double-glazed windows, energy-efficient LED-lighting and other clever energy-saving features such as well-insulated hot water pipes, green star equipment and motion sensor lighting contribute to saving as much energy as possible.

Guests not only receive a Carbon Off-Setting certificate to endorse their carbon-neutral stay at the hotel but they also earn Verdinos – the hotel’s in-house currency – to trade in at the deli or bar. These incentives encourage visitors to help make their stay as green as possible by, for instance, not switching on the air-conditioning.

Visit Hotel Verde for an award-winning eco-chic hotel experience and be inspired to take a chance at living off the grid.

* A WWF-initiative, Earth Hour is a synchronised global gesture to express concern around climate change and highlight the need for sustainable energy. Every year participants from 160 countries voluntarily switch off their lights between 8:30 – 9:30 on the last Saturday of March.