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Today is World Laughter Day. Local comedians have urged South Africans to join in the mirth because it’s the only alternative to bitterness and despair. There’s plenty to laugh at, they say.
Yes. The former national police commissioner is in jail. His successor is on suspension. The man tipped to take over has accusations swirling about him of murder and corruption. The same man is said to be the kingpin of internal bugging and surveillance.
The Gauteng e-tolling fiasco involves companies with the strongest connections to the government. It also involves a Swedish company that paid huge bribes in the infamous arms deal.
Meanwhile, Parliament is busy with the Protection of State Information Bill, which would put us on a par with countries such as North Korea and Burma in terms of transparency in the government.
You couldn’t make it up. This is side-splitting stuff. Ho, ho, ho!
COR LUMME lovaduck! Boris ’as made it! It was a close thing, but the voters of London have chosen as mayor Boris Johnson, the rumpled, Cockney-spouting former public schoolboy and Tory over Red Ken Livingstone, newt-breeder and champion of the anti-Establishment Left anywhere in the world.
In truth it was a clash of eccentricities rather than ideologies, but Johnson’s win rescues the Tory government from wholesale humiliation, having taken a pasting everywhere else in England’s local government elections.
But will Boris last a full term? The smart money has it that if the Cameron government continues with taxes on Cornish pasties and taxes on pensioners, he could end up leading the Tory party.
Meanwhile, Red Ken has gone back to… not his roots but his newts.
IN HIS latest grumpy newsletter, investment analyst James Greener notes that Virgin Galactic have quickly grasped how things work in SA.
“They have opened a booking office here to sell tickets for their space trips. A spokesman said he believed that there were ‘enough millionaires or people with access to funds in South Africa for a space flight’.
“The second part of that statement is the killer. Boy, do we ever have plenty of people with ‘access to funds’! Note there was no suggestion that it should be their own funds.
“I can already hear the arguments that using a rocket is the best way to improve service delivery.”
Meanwhile, Greener notes that the cabinet has formed “a high-level e-tolling committee”.
“Watch for official-looking suits perched on those gantries. And the word is spreading fast that those gantries are also laden with lashings of the very best copper cabling. This is turning out to be a very entertaining spectacle.”
WE HACKS and scribblers are deeply saddened by news of the death of John Waters, a colleague who had immense impact on newspapers across SA and for many years lived, worked and made merry in Durban.
Until his retirement a few years ago, John had been design editor of this newspaper group. That meant he did the rounds of the different titles, tweaking and revamping layout as needed, taking into account the different background and tradition of each newspaper. It was demanding and highly skilled work.
Before that he had been a sports writer, at home with any game but specialising in cricket, football and boxing. Before the design bug bit him seriously, he had been sports editor of the Cape Argus.
John had an instinct for quality – in his private life as well as at work. The lunch and dinner parties put on by he and his vivid lady companion, Janis, were the stuff of legend. He had an absolutely amazing collection of jazz recordings and just as impressive a collection of fine old wines.
He and Janis retired to McGregor, in the Karoo, and also had a house on the Greek island of Skiathos. During their most recent spell in Greece I got a series of SMSes from John describing the riots in Athens and Janis’s role in stoking the unrest. He was a lot of fun.
I’m not sure what I admired most in John: his newspaper skills, his jazz collection or his wine collection. He will be sorely missed.
ANGELA Merkel arrives at passport control at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris.
“Nationality?” asks the immigration officer.
“No, just here for a few days.”
Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character. – Oscar Levant