And now we’re on to the Commonwealth Games! I’ve started a group with a few other gogos to have Aquafitness (or “Splash”, as it’s called here) entered in the next round. The rivalry for hosting is between Edmonton and Durban. I’m rooting for Durban!
I started going to my local Virgin Active gym last week and realized quickly that I was missing some equipment for the Splash classes. Everyone here is expected to have all the gear, so I’m now fully fitted!!
Housing, it’s all about politics: Well, everything is always about politics, but here it’s really all about politics.
The Social Housing Regulatory Agency (SHRA), which is the overseer and funder of social housing, had a huge shake up some months ago and the CEO as well as the COO were both “moved out of the organization”. Turns out there were a few skeletons in the closet and probably more to come. One story is that some private sector company in Eastern Cape was given all the capital money up front to build a social housing development but nothing every got built and the money is long gone. That kind of thing….
So, just as the SHRA is re-tooling itself, there’s an election and a new Minister of Human Settlements is appointed. Turns out she’s also the old Minister, who delivered 27,000 units a year under her first mandate. Now things are happening really slowly, if at all.
This minister is Lindiwe Sisulu, the daughter of famous couple, Albertina and Walter Sisulu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertina_Sisulu). She is referred to as the Princess (kind of like Diana, in some ways). She has a fabulous wardrobe and the opposition leader called her “Barbie” last week and was reprimanded in the House.
Let’s see, how can I ‘splain this. Julius Malema is the head of the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), the offishul opposition. They remind me of a hybrid of early Reform, early Knee Dippers and some Social Credit thrown in. So, one of their big statements is that they all wear red overalls to work. For this, they have been thrown out of the Provincial legislature here in Gauteng and responded by demonstrating and breaking some windows and stuff.
So, how does this relate to social housing policy? Not sure, but if the level of political debate is about what you wear to work, not much good can come of it!
Anyway, Lindiwe made her maiden speech last week and has now decided that the housing stuff has to ramp up big time and she wants to revive the idea of “mega projects” (this is not good, believe me). She also indicated that the SHRA might be rolled into the National Department of Human Settlements (also not good, I’m pretty sure). Anyway, all this is making reasonable long/mid-term planning kind of impossible for most of the SHI’s, as you can imagine.
I’m just keeping my head down and plugging away. Whoa, that sounds like a perfect bureaucrat!
Another icon of the struggle dies:
Nadine Gordimer, a writer and activist, died at home in Joburg on July 13th. She was 92 and had a long life fighting the good fight. I read her back in the days (while not eating grapes and granny smiths). It was very sad to see that, on July 14th, the headline in the papers was all about Oscar Pistorius being drunk and getting into a fight in a bar! Gordimer’s death was on page 3.
I listened to some great interviews on Elinor Wachtel’s show: http://www.cbc.ca/books/2014/07/south-african-author-nadine-gordimer-dies-at-age-90.html
What would Tom Thompson Think?
Every morning I pass by this huge pine tree. I noticed some strange fruit growing on it, then I looked closely at the tree bark….
It for now, folks.