Sunday 18 September 2022
Greetings my fellow students of water, electricity and pandemics, and to my six keen followers…I’m back for a few commentaries both historical and topical.
Yesterday is history, today it is heritage. What truth!
Yesterday, it is suggested, is every day before today, and therefore it is history…water under the bridge. But if only we could have water! I shall revert to that point shortly.
Today, everything we have, no matter our culture, creed, or career, is heritage, so basically everything that has happened before today is our heritage whether we like it or not.
Kimberley had a major water pipe burst on Saturday 10 September somewhere between the Vaal river and our reservoir that serves the majority of the city. The Vaal river, 30 odd kilometres away, supplies Kimberley with water and has done since foundation in 1871. Naturally, the ‘taps’ had to be shut off, so there was no water available to the good (and bad) folk until the morning of Monday 12 September. How well the pipe has been repaired I have no idea because my records show that in that exact same area where the pipe burst, and may I add it was a magnificent and spectacular display, there have been several breaks and repairs over the years. Goodness!
(Indeed, an announcement a few days ago by the municipality that controls Kimberley told us that we shall now have a total water shutdown from 6 to 10 October so that they can repair certain pipes. In a vague statement the Sol Plaatje Municipality (of which Kimberley is part) “…will have a planned water interruption on the 6th October until the 10th October 2022. The reason for this interruption is to repair more of the leaks which have a huge impact on water losses, including the R31 and N12 roads as well.”
Our water problems go back to 2012, which makes it historical, and therefore, as it is history, it is now our heritage. Yes, our lack and loss of water in Kimberley is now our heritage. Thank goodness we are celebrating Heritage month as each day when we have no water, whenever that happens, we can lift our glasses (sans water) and toast each other as well as the municipality. A celebration of sorts. To celebrate our heritage. And what quite possibly makes this bit of heritage unique is that it actually belongs to everybody, and not just a segment of the population.
Did I mention that we have had our water cut off virtually every night since the beginning of winter? No? Oh yes indeed. This in order to fill the reservoir. Which never happens, filling the reservoir that is. Ever. The pipes that break and burst throughout town – many of these pipes date back to the late 1890s and early 1900s – are merely repaired with plastic and superglue and some are so bad that the reservoir has to be shut down. Regularly. This is our heritage.
So, since 2012, and I have all the sordid and sorry details, we have had pipes bursting and being repaired, but never replaced. We have needed new reservoirs, but does this happen? No. And it appears it never shall. This is also history, and therefore heritage. I love history and heritage.
Our city councillors, somewhere around 70 of them I believe, could not give two hoots as long as they get their salaries and perks, and the perks are good too. Really, really good. Our executive mayor is in his mid-twenties. Yes, indeed, a youth policy for our governing municipal body, a policy that the vibrant youth has asked for, for nearly fifteen years now.
Wise in their old age, the elders obviously decided to listen to the people and bring in a (very) youthful leader. Give him the same problems ‘we’ have had, and created, and see if he can sort it out. Now that is wise because they know it will not be sorted out. There is no money coming in other than that to pay their salaries, and the staff. Then the youth can be criticised. And from next year the elderly can get their rightful seats (and perks) back.
I have nothing against the new Mayor, he is probably a very nice chap. Our new Mayor, or nearly new, as he has been in many months now, is extremely experienced! Really? Oh yes indeed. He is a student at the local University and is also a lecturer…as many senior students are. Naturally he will receive a stipend from lecturing and I am sure his studies and accommodation are sorted out too. Perhaps not, but for now anyway, he shall be able to afford to pay his way. His experience in dealing with student matters will no doubt assist him in his deliberations. For example, paying Eskom the money owed to them for several years now.
Unbelievably, the cost of electricity increased quite substantially. Again. Believably, despite an agreement with Eskom, there has been no payment from our Municipality whatsoever to the power company that gives us (reduced and rationed) power to light up homes and lives. The increase appears to merely pay the annual salary increase for the councillors.
If it was not so funny, it would be serious. Seriously. It is not only Houston that has a problem, it does appear that we in Kimberley have a problem or two, too.
Oh well, I could carry on ad nauseum, or should it be ad nauseous, but I better end as I have to replace the candle that allows me to type these wise words. My computer has an invertor (which is fantastic) but my lights and kettle not.
Power blackouts certainly allow us to exercise our brain power. It could be worse and it may just get worse.
On that happy note, I wish you well, have a lovely week, and I thank you for taking time to peruse these few paragraphs.