The problems with transport in South Africa – Why you don’t care and why I don’t blame you

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written by: Musa Simelane

Edite by: Javas Xanti

Ours is a divided country. This is immature and short-sighted. It is not however surprising. We have made some admirable steps forward in the way of political freedom. We are able to form parties to oppose the ruling party without being labelled terrorists like in the eighties. The fact that these oppositions like the DA and AGANG-South Africa serve more as comical soap operas rather than opposition is beside the point.

However overturning the political climate of injustice doesn’t translate into the real world effects of apartheid disappearing. We still have a divided country. We still have inequality. We still have dysfunctional infrastructure. Transport being one I have chosen to focus on and I am convinced that it is the most pertinent, most understated and underestimated of all of South Africa’s challenges.

But we don’t really care do we?

If we apply Maslow’s theory of needs on this blog’s readership it will suggests that those with access to read this blog most likely have vehicles or fairly pleasant means of commuting and don’t bother with taxis and Metrorail trains. And those who face this dilemma of transport have bigger problems than whether or not they have data for their smart phones to read my rants in this blog. They are dealing with problems of far more basic importance and don’t have the will or the ability to wrestle this problem. So I’m talking to people who are not affected by what I’m talking about per say and don’t care cause hey, I drive. I’m fine.

I understand how you feel but you are wrong.

The taxi industry/mafia transport +60% of South Africans to work. It is an informal 3rd party non government institution that is unregulated and has no obligation to service and or law. I will talk about its history and chilling future in a later blog. With the launch of e-tolling on December of 2012, they were promised exemption and special registration tags. They would basically not pay for e-tolling, a resolution they forced out of government after flexing their muscle. And today, after about a month of e-tolls, the taxi association NTA has submitted that only 63 of the 200 000 taxi’s have received exemption. And the rest while not tagged have received e-toll bills that range from 20 000 – 40 000. The result; Taxis flexed their muscle again and engaged in a go slow protest. Leaving all of the 60% of taxi commuters stranded further pressurising the already inadequate transport channels.

“Well I got to work and back on time.” says the motorist. No you did not. The effect of this go slow was massive, disastrous traffic. And all of a sudden, we realise that the transport problems in South Africa are every South African’s problem. Do we really want outlaws from a Wild West movie transporting our people?

Because of the weak rand against the dollar there is an imminent hike of 39c pushing the cost of petrol to near R14.00 a litre (effective as of 05 February 2014). In an economical climate where half of people with credit have defaulted on repayments for a period of 3 months or more in the past year, economists forecast that the fuel prices are to further rise to R16.00 a litter in the medium term.

Your likely alternative transport when filling up your tank becomes too much will quite possibly be to be charioted by the same outlaws stated above.

So these are your problems. These are our problems regardless weather you are rich or middle class. These issues affect you whether you are black, white, Romulen or Klingon.

It’s our problem because we are all South Africans.

If we develop this mentality, we can fix this.

A trip to Thailand and we fell victim to an ugly scam

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Thailand-hotel-market

 

*The Names of the Victims and employees of ATL have been changed to protect their identity.

*Zodwa Makhubo and 10 of her colleagues who work at Luthuli House for the ANC, as we speak are stranded at Bangkok Suvarnambumi International airport. One of many scam victims of ATL tours That made the article by Megan Power on the Sunday times. Zodwa‘s daughter and other  victims were crowded outside their ATL Tours’  Rosebank office demanding money for unconfirmed Travel packages they had fully paid for. Most of the people there paid for false packages that cost anywhere from R 108 000 – R 600 000 sources confirmed.

“When we asked him what was going on, Mr Talaat  told us that there is no money to pay for the packages the clients had paid for.” Said *Ntombi Dhlomo. Her and her colleagues had to deal with angry violent customers demanding their money back. “We began to be worried when he said to us that he wants us to inform the clients who had paid a 60% deposit to pay the full amount immediately, She continued. This is strange because the clients are liable to pay the full amount only 8 weeks before their departure according to their contracts with us. “But when the clients payed but didn’t receive their vouchers for accommodation, sightseeing tours, transfers and their flight tickets, we began to worry. Specially since some where forced to pay us 90 days prior to their departure.”.”He simply told us: ‘There is money to pay for peoples packages!”.”All I know is I’m likely newly unemployed and don’t even know whether or not I will be paid at the end of the month.”, She said.

Eventualy a team of Rosebank Police were at the scene taking statements and the mob of protesters filed official charges against Mr Talaat.

What was interesting was that these people who where the victims of this scam were not dumb at all apparently. They are business owners, bankers and politicians. But they still fell for this con and also got  their friends to sign up. There were many more complainants on Hellopeter.com , the service complaint site. Yes, you could have fallen for it too. How?

Mr Ahmed Talaat has long been at this kind of scam and him and other con artists like him get us by employing the following elaborate process of deception.

1.  Setting Up shop. He constructs an incredible website, high-quality brochures and team of staff recruited and trained who truly believe that they are in fact working for a legitimate tour operator.

2. Opening and approach. He just needs to give one person of influence and statue a great tour experience, for example providing an actual trip to Mauritius, a 10 day stay at R 14 000 per person that includes accommodation, breakfast, dinner, and flight tickets. As the company slogan will put it; “Includes everything and excludes nothing.” A ridiculous offer considering that a similar quote from Pentravel, an actual  Travel agency will  roundly cost about R23 756 per person. These influential people will tell all their friends and family about this amazing deal, will then go to the website, be met with breath taking pictures  on pages bearing the ASATA logo. An association for travel agencies in South Africa fraudulently used. The bait has been bitten.

3. Build up and pay off. The Victim will come to ATL tours or call for an itinerary to be formulated and a quote be put together for their trip.  The trip will off course be pennies to the dollar, preying on our weakness to save a quick buck, we are hooked! and the payment is made. An invoice will then be given to the client but will not bare the supplier’s information, the company responsible for assembling the Tour, But will be created at ATL tours.

4. Disaster. The client and hes family and friends excitedly packs, flys off to the country they have been anxious to visit, only to get there and find that their entire tour items have been canceled, as in the couple mention on the Sunday times or the unfortunate group still stranded in Bangkok without Accommodation.

 5.Outroar. The victim will demand his money back and will either be met with false promises to refund his investment or will not be able to reach the false tour group, who will now flee to another country to prey on other naive groups of people.

How to avoid this

Research well your Tour provider and contact ASATA to check if they are registered under that group. A simple check by the unfortunate victims at ATL tours would have deterred them from putting their hard earned money into this unfortunate endeavor.

—We Can Fix This

Death Of A Titan – Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013

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Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity. Nelson Mandela

 During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die. —-Nelson Mandela

 Then out spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods…

—-Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay

We mourn the death of the most noble man in history. A man who discarded his own personal comfort and rights for the sake of his people. He taught us to fight, he taught us to endure, he taught us to forgive, he taught us to stand for what is right no matter the cost.

May we honour his death by fulfilling his wish. His wish of a united rainbow nation.

- He has fixed this

Sho! Hectic!

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Sho! Hectic!

A Gantry severed! people are angry

Apartheid’s Architect sends Jacob Zuma a letter from the grave.

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Dear Jacob Zuma

It is with exceeding pleasure that I write this letter. As you know my government has endeavored at its time through the pohibition of communism act and other efforts to suppress your ANC and groups like it from existing. But your continued  existence has brought a victory beyond that I and my apartheid government could have ever hoped for.

My goal has always been a simple one: Perpetual discrimination and permanent domination of South Africa by Whites, The Population registration act classified blacks from whites so that it is obvious to who the greater benefits of the country would go to. The skilled employment would be for the whites and blacks would work in menial employment and in servitude to whites. However what your economy has done is more genius. The whites and the blacks work at the same place and bring the same level of skill now, yet the white earns four times as much… your economy continues to perpetuate my legacy of white domination more elegantly than before.

This earning gap means that most blacks, even if they are working skilled individuals, continue to stay in townships and out of working areas as intended by apartheid’s group areas act. meaning they spend more time and money traveling to work than whites further solidifying my efforts, continuing my legacy even beyond my death.

When those miners at Marikana underwent a protest for a wage increase and police where called to the scene with live ammo to shoot them to death, I had to check the dates on the news, I was pretty sure that was old footage from my era.

The makeshift means of transport, that is the taxi industry that formed out of a need to transport blacks into cities is still the chief mode of transport? Incredulous! between that and the disastrous train system that has 1500 people injured and 300 dead in a year, incidents that occur usually when they are late and stranded in the middle of the tracks, these same under paid people are forced to buy cars they cant realistically afford and doom themselves to staying at their township home in the places of my design even as adults as they cant afford to move closer.

This leads me to your greatest service to me yet; the magnificent E-toll system, irrational inefficient expensive. Who do you think its going to affect more? The whites who stay generally closer to their working areas, earn four to six times s much and have enough disposable income for the latest iPhone or the many blacks who drive from places like Vosloorus passing two E-toll Gantries to get to work? The geographical displacement of blacks  from city centers means they will pay more in E-tolls, falling further behind from the lines of equality with whites.

Had I known that the final service of the ANC would have been such a grand display of what I considered good neighborliness, I would have long stepped aside and allowed for your party to rule much earlier.

Perhaps Dimitri Tsafendas would have had hes crazy eye on you instead.

Your friend from the grave,

Hendrik Verwoerd

How to legally not pay for E-tolls

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etoll run

source: Proudly e-Tag Free

HOW TO LEGALLY NOT PAY FOR eTOLLS

So kids, by way of a public service announcement, here is a 100% legal, fully above board way to NOT pay e-tolls….

Do not buy an eTag.

After the first 4-6 weeks of passing through toll gantries, send SANRAL a registered letter, expressing your concern, that for the last 4- 6 weeks you have not received a payment request from them. You must state that you are COMPLETELY willing to pay the toll fees, but this cannot be carried out without a detailed invoice. Unreliable postal services could be to blame, so please would they send you your invoice by registered mail, to ensure you receive it. (This is a fully legal AARTO requirement for any letter of demand.)

Make a photocopy of your letter, get a COMMISSIONER OF OATHS to stamp the copy, and keep your registered mail receipt. Such a request could take months to be settled, and if you are fortunate, never at all due to the sheer volume of similar requests received. Should you finally receive a notification that a registered letter has arrived for you, take as long as possible to collect it. This method is based upon the fact that they do not use registered mail to send invoices. If one considers the past history of all traffic fines received, these all arrive by normal mail to prevent the high costs of registering letters.

Should SANRAL surprisingly, after a lengthy period, comply with (1) above, then send them a second CERTIFIED letter by registered post, requesting that they send you a photograph for every single gantry you have passed under for that month, proving that is was your car you that is being invoiced.( Perfectly legal and reasonable request from any motorist ). Such photographs obviously, you must request to also be sent by registered mail to ensure delivery. Also takes weeks to collect such registered mail, should it in the unlikely event, ever be posted. Explain that you have heard that certain motorists are using illegal false number plates and you therefore require the photographs to prove that it is definitely your cat that is being charged. Such a request could takes months to be settled, or if you are very fortunate, never. Consider the sheer volume of requests they should by now have received. If their system is not set up for such requests, which I am almost positive is the case. (Hope I am not wrong on this one) Can you imagine the difficulties and problem they will have, in trying to MANUALLY comply with the thousands upon thousands of similar requests received. To be really difficult, how about querying some of the less clear photographs taken at night. Even if they come back to you asserting that the photographs are in their opinion, all perfectly readable, further delays will have been successfully applied.

Should SANRAL try to speed up communications by requesting your e-mail or fax number, or send you SMS’s, or trying direct contact by phone, I have considered very simple ways of negating each of such requests. I am not mentioning any of these methods, as I want to keep this article 100% above board, and free of any questionable actions.

In the unlikely event that all the above somehow be resolved, than obviously pay, but only for that particular month under review.

Start the whole lengthy procedure all over again, 4-6 weeks after the termination of the second month’s toll fees due. Continue with the same, for every individual month that follows.

Shouldnt take long for the whole system to fall over, if just 10% of the drivers do this,…..

Ahem!

Etoll – The madness today

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The traffic on the M1 highway from Soweto towards the Crown Interchange is at a complete stand still. This and a number of routes that go through the suburbs are experiencing high volumes of traffic following the official launch of the e tolling system yesterday. Drivers are avoiding the ‘free’ ways in effort to avoid  extra cost on house-hold expenditure that is already strained by fuel and food costs.

The center of South Africans economy, Gauteng will experience loss of production as many people will be late today as a result of the abnormal traffic.

I don’t think South Africans are anarchists who want to bring this country to a stand still. I really  think they cannot afford E-tolls.

Outa Chairman Wayne Duvenage stated:”There is no law that requires road users to buy an e-tag or register with Sanral in order to use Gauteng’s freeways,”

-We can fix this.