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21 February 2001
Walking shoes 

So, this afternoon we will see what Trevor Manuel has in store for us concerning the annual budget. There is one thing for sure, "sin taxes" will go up as it has been for the past six years or so (that is taxes on alcohol and tabacco). 

Service station owners are a bit upset about dwindling profits. With all the extras loaded into fuel prices, the government has not been making provision for the poor fuelstation owners. So, with the international oil prices dropping, we could be in for a bit of an increase (again!). We all gotto make a living though. 

Seems our transport ministry is at last trying to get their act together. Very strict new rules and regulations are being put in place after another chaotic week on our national roads. Thirty people died in three accidents during the first two days of this week alone! Some things to consider though would be the general condition of our roads. Read more about it here. With the new "Megacity" in place, seems that everyone is scrambling for money to fix up existing infrastructure. That is, if there's anything left after all the new officials get their salaries. 
A local mayor (Roodepoort) has been appointed as an executive member of the new Megacity structure at four times his current salary. And that excludes very generous extras (re. travelling, accomodation etc.). 

Something that really really peeved off a whole lot of people was the torching of our landmark Pretoria Station building. This facility accomodates over Two-Hundred Thousand commuters every day, or rather it used to. Story goes that some signalling equipment gave problems and the trains were delayed for about an hour. The (predominantly) black crowd got a bit upset and decided to torch the place. Llyods of London insured the building which was constructed around 1910, for Ninety Billion Rand. Damage came to a third of that (estimated). Think Llyods will consider a renewal of policy? 
The tragic part is that it probably only took ten or so people to start the whole riot. The consequence is that these people are now all without regular, reliable transport. Busses are now being organised to transport commuters. How silly can you get? Seems that our crime-rate problems will be paying off in it's own silly way with this railstation episode - closed circuit cameras installed in the building might just have the culprits on tape. 

The University of the North had a bashing time with students rioting when refused re-admission. These students owe in the region of a Hundred and Fifty Million Rand in outstanding tuition fees. And they fully expect to be re-admitted? 

Another ironic episode that befell our lovely crime infested country was the robbery of four Chinese delegates who arrived from Johannesburg International at their hotel in Sandton. They were here to attend the International Trade Conference held next week. They were also here to investigate the possibilities of hosting more international conventions. Bet they changed their minds! 

Seems the government is busy setting us up for big things in the future. Officials are planning on passing a new law on terrorism which will make provision for detention without trial. Reeks of the old National Party government (the old regime as it's commonly refered to). The biggest problem here is that there is no definite guidelines on what constitutes terrorism. Will we eventually end up like Zimbabwe? 

Talk about Zimbabwe, the local government (re. Mugabe) is set on overthrowing the law by his lonesome self. Judges are being forced into early retirement and court orders are being swept aside in the pursuit to ruin the country forever. Foreign journalists are being deported and local ones that don't agree with Mugabe, are being terrorised into submission. What is going on with the African people? 

For an update on what's happening in Zimbabwe, visit Lorraine. 

A bit of feedback on last weeks issue (AMC), seems the new taxi bid will not go AMC's way. Read more here.