Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Does the ANC "own" Nelson Mandela?

Our independent news channel, eNews, asked Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance party, about the future of the DA in the 2014 elections. She responded in fairly typical fashion: articulate, straight talking and to the point, unlike her counterpart Gwede Mantashe, who rambled on in his usual bumbling fashion. But then it's hardly surprising, given that Gwede Mantashe is the Secretary General of the ANC and the chairperson of the South African Communist Party. It's tough wearing two different political hats, and trying to sound reasonable, all at the same time.
So when Helen Zille said that the DA is "... the Party that has moved into the vacuum left by the ANC when they abandoned the values of Nelson Mandela", Mantashe overdid himself in manufactured outrage. He even forgot that Helen Suzman died in 2009. The sad truth is that the ANC has abandoned the values of Nelson Mandela, in favour of self-interest, nepotism, corruption, populism and lying to the public. They don't care about the poor or the oppressed. They just want their vote, but can't get their ducks in a row to deliver basic services. They'd rather build soccer stadiums than hospitals.
They have been accused of arrogance by putting up re-election posters along potholed streets littered with uncollected garbage. I say they are arrogant to presume to say they "own" Nelson Mandela, a man who "belongs" to the planet, not to mention the nation. From the day he became president he rose above party politics, something Mantashe and his colleagues are incapable of doing.
Update 29 May: The Sunday Times has published an article on this topic too: "Mandela Belongs to all" by Mamphela Ramphele.
Technical note: I used Media Cope to edit this video to a suitable length. My wife recorded it using a LG DVR, and then I used Clone DVD mobile to turn the DVD recording to a media file that could be edited by Media Cope before uploading. I use the Slysoft AnyDVD and Clone DVD Mobile programs to convert all the DVDs I purchase into .avi files, which I store on a hard drive for backups. Then I can watch the movies on my laptop without scratching the DVDs.

Monday, May 16, 2011

If you rejoice in revenge, torture and war …you’re not a Christian

If you rejoiced at the death of Osama Bin Laden, then get a reality check. I found Bill Maher's comments surprisingly on the mark. If he can get it, why don't most Christians? Because we're Jesus fans, not Jesus followers. Read or listen to "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" by Rob Bell and Don Golden for more information about this topic.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Darwin Award goes to all NRA "life" members

This has to be the stupidest badge in the history of mankind. I think it is probably the closest thing you can find in modern society to the "mark of the beast".

Med-Xpress: Discovery's latest disaster

Discovery Med-XpressI love my medical "aid", that's why I pay them over R5000 every month. But I keep forgetting that they don't care about my health at all, even though they are called "Discovery Health". All they care about is "their" money. They seem to forget that it's my money that I paid them for a specific purpose.
This became obvious to me again this week. I take 3 different chronic medications, and because I started taking them at different times, their glorious computer system can't issue them all at once, but insists that I go to the pharmacy 3 times a month. What a waste of time, not to mention the cost of processing each box of tablets separately.
So when I got my new script I decided to try out their newly-announced "Med-Xpress" service where they promise to deliver the medication to my door at no extra cost. What a fiasco. They can't issue all the medication at one time, nor can they issue a partial amount. If I want this to happen then I can obtain it from a pharmacy but I will have to pay cash because the partial claim will be rejected. Even though it is "covered" as chronic medication.
If that's what they call "delivering the best of care" then I hate to imagine what the "worst of care" is going to be like. Clearly some copywriter just made up a slogan irrespective of how true it might be. Lying to the public is not good business, Discovery Health!
Update Mon 16: Some officious little bureaucrat phoned to tell me that the reason they make it so difficult is "because of legislation" and not because of their computer system. He also tried to tell me how to manipulate the computer system so I could get more tablets earlier, which is exactly the opposite of what I asked for on my HelloPeter complaint.
What I eventually figured out from a very long and rambling "explanation" during which time he interrupted my questions and talked over my explanations, is this:
  • When med A runs out, take the new script to the Pharmacy and just ask for med A. That is shown on the diagram as visit "A".
  • When med B runs out, visit the Pharmacy again and ask for 25 tablets only, and request a 25 day repeat cycle, not the usual 30. Visit "B".
  • When med C runs out, request only 10 tablets, and ask for a 10 day repeat cycle. Visit "C".
Theoretically when all 3 meds run out on the same day, their computer system will allow you to now claim 30 tablets of each, on a standard 30 day repeat cycle. However, I suspect that the system will just fall over and refuse to issue anything other than med A.
Thank God I'm not on the Pill, in which case I'd have to ask for everything to be put on a 28 day cycle. Actually that may be more convenient, since I could then always go on the same day of the week. That's why all tablets come in multiples of 28, not 30: because they think about the needs of women. Boxes of tablets in multiples of 7 would be really helpful, but the tablet sellers don't care about their patients.
Update 26 May: Discovery phoned to find out how I would rate my interaction with the caller who phones about my HelloPeter complaint. I gave him a 1/10, the lowest score they allow.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

MTN: It doesn't add up

(Click on the image above for more detail)
I just love getting statements from my cellphone company, MTN. They are just full of laughs. I have noticed that for some time my debit order was R89 but the balance shown is double this amount. Looking back to figure out why, I am still completely confused. In November last year it just increased by R89 with no explanation given.
The call centre operators just repeat the mantra "it's because we invoice monthly in arrears" and cannot explain any further. I guess it's not in the script and they are just underpaid droids. At least the phone works, even if they can't add. Such is life in Africa.

Update 22nd June 2011: After meeting with several MTN executives they helpfully sent me a reconciliation spreadsheet going back several years. I then discovered the following:
I am therefore left with the conclusion that all statements between Feb 2009 and Nov 2010 were incorrect, and the bug has now been fixed. Weird.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Mainstream Media is Really Bad

This from the Russia Today TV channel. Here is another spin on the same interview, this time focusing on the Facebook angle.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

National Productivity Week

Every year we have a string of holidays evenly spaced to create the maximum permissible disturbance to productivity. And the idiots in government don't even realise the cost to the country. This year the Easter weekend just added to the general holiday mood, plus of course the Royal Wedding.
In the past two weeks we have had the following holidays:
Good Friday: 22nd April
Easter Monday: 25th April
Freedom Day: Wed 27th April
May Day: Mon 2nd May.
That's 3 weekday working days in 11 days. Not too bad if you earn a salary, not great if you are trying to pay the salaries. Fortunately there won't be any more holidays until 18th May, when we are expected to vote in Municipal elections. Another complete waste of time since they're all corrupt and/or incompetent anyway.