David Biggs writes that the trains go only as far as Fish Hoek now, when they used to go to Simon’s Town and the lines that pass his house are quietly rusting away unused. Picture Brenton Geach/African News Agency (ANA) Archive
David Biggs writes that the trains go only as far as Fish Hoek now, when they used to go to Simon’s Town and the lines that pass his house are quietly rusting away unused. Picture Brenton Geach/African News Agency (ANA) Archive

Shovel the sand off the Simon’s Town train track before it’s too late

By Opinion Time of article published Jan 22, 2021

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by David Biggs

I sometimes think our government must be thanking their collective lucky stars for the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s rather like a general-purpose Donald Trump pardon.

No matter what you’ve done wrong, you just need to mutter: “It’s because of the Covid-19 crisis,” and you’re off the hook.

Eskom is broken, SAA is broken, the postal service is broken, our suburban train service is broken and anything that isn’t broken yet has been stolen.

All thanks to the pandemic.

I used to commute to and from work for years using the Simon’s Town suburban line.

The trains go only as far as Fish Hoek now. The lines that pass my house are quietly rusting away unused.

We are told it’s because “there’s sand on the line.”

Good gracious, how terrible! Haven’t they heard of shovels?

But these days that’s not so simple.

If we are to get shovels we must publish invitations for tenders for their supply.

This gives favoured cadres an opportunity to organise the supply of shovels through a company owned by another company that belongs to the under-secretary of the Putsonderbrandewijn branch of the ANC.

Because of the convoluted nature of the supply chain the shovels will cost tax-payers about R3.4 billion each.

This might sound like a lot of money for a shovel, but our government is taking care of the welfare of the workers and each shovel will have to be inspected by a panel of safety inspectors who have to be flown in from Gauteng, where most of the country’s shovel inspectors are located.

You see? These things cannot be rushed if they are to be done properly.

Many tax-payers are wondering how the government will pay for the 10-million doses of vaccine they claim to have secured.

Our honourable state president assures us that, “Treasury has made the money available”.

That’s comforting news but I hope the Treasury hasn’t borrowed the money from the Suburban Line Shovel Fund (SLSF).

That sand dune on the line gets higher every time the south-easter blows and I want to take a train trip to Simon’s Town before I die.

I’d like to have a drink or two at my favourite Simon’s Town pub and get home safely without having to drive.

Last Laugh

A scruffy hobo in dirty, tattered clothes approached a man in the shopping mall and whined: “can you spare me a few rands, sir?”

“I suppose you’ll just spend it on booze,” said the man.

“No sir, I don’t drink.”

“Well, you’ll probably gamble it away.”

“No sir, I never gamble.”

“I want you to come home with me then,” said the shopper.

“What for sir?”

“I’d like my wife to see what somebody looks like who doesn’t drink or gamble.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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