Thursday, October 4, 2012

Power Outage Jabber

The suburb where I reside in the Pretoria-East area has lately been experiencing numerous power outages. The cause in most cases has been attributed to cable theft in the near vicinity of the complex where I live and work (for peanuts). However, today’s blackout, which lasted from about 13:00 to 17:00, was apparently caused by a veld fire which started underneath the Apollo Nyala transmission lines in the east of Pretoria. In Pretoria the areas affected were parts of Moot, East, North and Centurion (source). However Maroela Media reported that large areas of Johannesburg were also affected by the damage caused at the same Apollo Nyala-line.

This is a rather precarious state of affairs, considering that a veld fire should not have caused the damage in the first place - as grass is typically ((ahem)) kept short in the immediate vicinity of these power-supply structures. Another perturbing issue is the fact that relatively minor damage (one switch) to the Apollo Nyala-line also caused power outages in parts of Johannesburg.

Okay - fair enough sh*t happens every odd now and then, but this kind of sh*t combined with all the other sh*t (groot k@k) going on has really got me thinking how defenceless we are when the stuff we so often rely on for our very survival suddenly stops working, without warning.

I’ve long past the stage where I freak out because of weird things that happen in Africa. Luckily I had done most of my important chores this morning, which involved some travelling. However, when I arrived back home, about 30 minutes before the power outage, I decided to catch up on some admin work, and between doing that I also started a draft article in response to John Moodey’s preposterous suggestion, on behalf of the DA, that offensive property names (for example: “Kafferskraal” – among one of more than 200 others) should be scrapped (news report here), when the power suddenly went off.

The first thought that immediately entered my mind, besides some uncouth poetry due to the swiftness of the event (why can the power not go off slowly?) was that the cable thieves were again responsible and that this time round I was going to catch the buggers myself as I had a good idea where…  So, off I sped in my vehicle, but got as far as the first security gate in the complex, which could not open without power - of course!!!  In order for it to open manually the caretaker of the complex had to provide a key to unlock the mechanism, but at that crucial point in time the one-and-only caretaker was running around somewhere else, freaking out because the lifts were not working.

By then I could hear the sirens of the fire-brigade and ambulances speeding by to some unknown destination, which I presumed could only be a major accident at a busy intersection where traffic lights were out. I returned home and decided to utilize the ol’ CADAC to boil some water for coffee (I love my Douwe Egberts Mocha Kenya Style), but then discovered - the gas cylinder was empty, due to the last arsehole I loaned it to - (imagine a few swearwords in this space!!!)

By the time I decided to leave the complex to go refill the gas cylinder at the local hardware all the internal gates in the complex were wide open. I encountered some turmoil at the main security gates – manned by security guards from Zimbabwe (real cheeky buggers). The main gates work with booms, which switch to 12 volt battery power in the event of a power outage, but the booms are backed by manual gates operated by guards, which makes the whole aim of automated entry and exit, using your cellphone, quite pointless anyway.

The entire boomgate-system consists of three sections – an entrance, an exit, and a third one for visitors… Then there’s another system for pedestrians, which works somewhat differently, -- and this was where the actual turmoil was taking place, as a small crowd of people were stuck, like rats in a cage, in the space between the double gate-system. They were shouting at the guards to let them out, but the guards were ignoring them as they were too busy manning the three vehicle sections – choked-up by irritable visitors who cannot read the signs that say, “Residents Only” - a typical daily scene – with or without power outages!

At the hardware store I was greeted by more irritable people – staff who were frustrated because they couldn’t help frustrated customers… A vicious circle, I tell you!

I’ll be filling the gas cylinder, tomorrow first thing!

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Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I feel for you....It must be uber frustrating dealing with a third world response to an expected first world lifestyle. The knock on effect will sadly just become more and more evident as systems and controls fail. It finally just got too much for my family and I and we now happily live in the land of the long white cloud. (moved here 3 years ago) Worth a visit if you have not been here before, tend to meet a shitload of new Saffers every day. And before you say "too old, too much baggage", many of us here did it on the wrong side of, I turn 50 next week. I mate of mine (Ex Police, name of Wally R, used to be up in Richards Bay) came here a year or so ago, no job no options. Got a job within weeks. It can be done and you need not deal with the ongoing destruction of a once fantastic country. I have an immigration mate (also ex SA) who is a magician at getting people in and employed.


Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I wonder where he could be living in the land of the long white cloud, is that the UK by any chance? just curious.I am on the wrong side of 50 and often think should I go too with my wife and two dogs. I have a german EU passport but born in SA johannesburg 1953. What are our chances, I wonder. Did my national service and 11 years border stints, for what I ask?

Tia Mysoa said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

"Land of the long white cloud" is New Zealand.

Dmitri Dumas said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Left Faerie Glen end of March and am back in Cape Town. Man, what a difference.

Hang in there TIA

Dmitri Dumas said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@Anton, who do I contact to move to NZ? All the sites etc I go to, show that I do not have the required skills etc. Feel free to email me (if it is ok with TIA) as I am rather ga*v*l (even in Cape Town)

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

I spent two weeks in NZ,I would give anything to go back there.My cousin sold his house in Capetown in 2008 and settled in a town called Rangiora 25 kms from Christchurch.Despite the earthquake he has never looked back.I travelled from Auckland right down to Dunedin by bus without any problems. You can go into a bank without looking over your shoulder.You do not need a tourist visa for a stay of 3 months.

Anonymous said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

Howdy, please pass on this email address to Dimitri, my mates name is Gregg Smith, and he knows the system. He is originally from Cape Town.

Feel free to pass on my email address to him as well


Dmitri Dumas said... .....Click here to refresh this blog

@Anton, thanks bud. Will email him today. Have a great weekend.
Thanks Tia

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