January 12, 2010

The Opening Monologue – Monday the 11th of January 2010
Written by Vittorio Leonardi.

Good evening.

This past week certainly started off with a bang. Our president took another a wife and many starry-eyed Grade 12s’ discovered if the fates were rolling the dice in their favour. With that and a few other stories found along the way, let’s begin.

President Zuma’s wedding to his fifth wife on the 4th garnered its fair share of criticism.

If I may throw in my 2 cents here…
How can we as a society fighting the AIDS virus promote a lifestyle encouraging one sexual partner when our president is taking his fifth wife with another waiting in the wings?

A loud voice of derision came from the head of the Christian Democratic Party, Reverend Theunis Botha, describing Zuma’s traditional African wedding as a “giant step back into the dark ages.”

Another point raised is that this wedding will have dire financial implications for tax payers. However, I wonder if anyone has considered the other side of the coin. If this marriage doesn’t work out, it could mean dire financial implications for Jacob. Ah yes, there’s that silver lining. How do you say pre-nuptial agreement in Zulu?

Government’s road death stats are wrong. This was gist of the statement from managing director of driving.co.za, Rob Handfield-Jones. He claims that the statistics the Department of Transport are using are contradictory. They claim the December 2008 death toll was 1348, when it was actually 908. The death toll for December 2009 is 1050. A 16% increase. Ouch.

If he is right then 142 more people died on our roads compared to last year. This is despite the fact that 285 000 speeding tickets were issued. Two fines that stood out were late to the party, being caught on the 5th of January. Their fines were R20 000 and R16 000 respectively.

“Speed control has once again been shown to be ineffective at reducing road deaths.” He added, “Across the world, people only drive as badly as their governments permit them to.”

True. Perhaps it’s time for hallucinogenic tranquilizers to replace speeding tickets? After all, you can’t speed when you’re watching your road turn into a lion and scamper away.
One thing is clearly evident: More people died though fewer went on holiday. Proving that speed doesn’t kill, but it helps.

Our airports will not be equipped with full body scanners in the near future. This was despite the stricter security checks requested by the U.S. after a Nigerian man attempted to detonate explosives on a flight to Detroit on December 25th. He was over-powered by passengers before he could do so thus proving that you don’t mess with people during the Christmas rush.

So far, no order has been issued by the SA Civil Aviation Authority regarding the stepping up passenger screening. Some would say this is unwise since the world cup is 5 months away and we are still regarded as a gateway country for terrorists. In the meantime, security stays as is, no scanners.

So for now at least, all heavily pierced people will still have to bring their own extraction tools if they intend to fly. Fun times ahead for you. You usually have to pay for that kind of action.

The KZN Health department has banned nurses and doctors from moonlighting. They say that the practice is being abused. Health workers unions have rejected this stating that their members receive such a poor living wage that they have been forced to find a way to supplement their income.

The current policy states that workers can’t moonlight during department hours, only on their own time. However, according to the department, there have been instances of abuse thus the departments ban while they review the system.

Isn’t that convenient for them.

Unions retorted saying the department has dropped the ball and should have investigated the individual incidents rather than simply blanket-banning the issue.
Add to this that some senior doctors receive less under the government’s new salary structure than the old system and you can see why Dr Akhtar Hussain of the national council of the SA Medical Association says that many doctors work after hours because “they earn peanuts.”

If all this keeps up we’ll have some highly skilled beggars manning the traffic lights of KZN. At least help will be on hand if there’s an accident. For a price.

The matric results for 2009 came out on Thursday. A shocker of a year as 18 schools posted a zero percent pass rate. President Zuma dropped his own depth charge stating that township schools could learn from the “old white schools” where teachers work for 7 hours a day while township schools teach for 3 hours.
But in the end it was the learners’ day. Tears were shed, cheers were screamed and there were smiles of joy for some and sighs of relief for others. There was also tragedy as one girl took her own life upon hearing she had failed. Sadly, had she waited a few more hours, comprehensive results would have shown she qualified for the re-writes she needed to pass the year.

Adding to this was the debacle of leaked papers – 5 of them – in Mpumalanga and the holding back of the provinces results while investigations continued left 60 000 learners twisting in the wind. Even The Hawks were brought in to investigate in the hopes of adding more culprits to the 13 already caught. Also, Wednesday it was discovered that the matric math marks were pushed up. It was also discovered that our Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has can’t do basic math when she announced on Thursday that 32% of matrics qualified for higher education, although the matric pass rate fell from 62.5% in 2008 to 60.7% in 2009. The department later acknowledged that the correct figure of those who qualified for higher education was in fact 19.8%. The standard DA rain of fire and brimstone followed.

DA shadow minister for basic education Juanita Kloppers-Lourens stated:

“It beggars belief that the department of basic education could not even do the basic arithmetic needed to calculate the matric exemption rate,”

“Cabinet ministers in other countries have been sacked for far less. It is frankly staggering that the minister has spent the last 48 hours blaming everyone but the ANC administration for another year of disgraceful matric results, when evidence abounds of the basic education department’s utter incompetence in the performance of even routine tasks,”she said.

With all this going on, the strangest part of the tale came when the SA National Defence Force announced that 4463 post matriculants would be joining the military. On purpose.

I guess they fell for that old Army ad campaign.

“Join the Army and visit strange exotic places. Meet new and interesting people… And kill them!!”

Now if only we had an enemy to fight… Hmm… Lesotho? How about round 2?

And finally… Children are wonderful and can bring great joy to your life. However, as a dagga dealing couple recently learned, never let your child know where you’ve hidden your stash.

After receiving an anonymous tip about drugs being dealt to Nellmapius township children, police came-a-raiding. The couple, naturally, refused to give any information. Their 4 year-old daughter, thinking mom and dad were being forgetful, led police to the drugs hidden in a cupboard and in her dad’s boots. She also told them that a large number of bags of electric spinach had just been taken away from the house.

There’s a moral to this story: If they’d spent a bit time with their daughter and a lot less time dealing, perhaps they’d still be free. There’s no substitute for quality time. And a Malibu Barbie.

This concludes this week’s edition of The Opening Monologue. See you next week and remember, you haven’t heard it all till you’ve heard The Last Say On Sunday.