On Power Struggles in South Africa – and other disasters

You may know that your humble blogger lives in a town called Port Elizabeth in South Africa. If you have diligently followed the various facets of history of virtually every country in Africa, you will be able to draw similarities between them – as well as the precarious path on which the South African government is currently meandering. Afro-optimists will put forward reasons why South Africa won’t degenerate to the point of say, Zimbabwe or why there won’t be the same kind of genocide as occurred between the Hutu and the Tutsi tribes in Rwanda and surrounds; but I’m not going to get into that right now because I want to discuss a significantly weightier subject than all that death, pillaging, general mayhem and stuff.

You know that a country has all but collapsed when a chap can’t put up an Old Master and misinterpret it with an appropriate (or inappropriate, as the case may be) caption of his choice. Apart from being an enormous inconvenience to his Loyal Readers (yes, I love both of you), it’s patently interfereing with the aforementiond fellow’s freedom of speech.

With incompetence that is on a galactic scale, the South African state power supply ‘company’, Eskom has forced us into a situation where we are teetering on the brink of a national power grid collapse and a total blackout (yes, you read that correctly, no power for the whole country!!). Should this happen, they tell us it could take weeks to ‘reboot’ the grid. You can read more on this in a multitude of technical and news articles – if you want to.

In an attempt to prevent this from happening, Eskom have unilaterally decided to switch off parts of the country at various times, for varying lengths of time. For example, two days ago, our group of suburbs were without power for eleven and a half hours; but mostly it is from two to four hours at a time. To help us treat the whole thing in a lighthearted maner, they publish online schedules so that we tax-paying citizens can plan for these outages. They never stick to these schedules, of course, but they give South Africans a giggle and generally serve as a reminder when to take their anti-depressants.

As you intelligent readers will realise, it is not only the unreliable power that causes consternation, but the associated and consequent impact on all other spheres of existence. We also have water restrictions due to high demand on old dams and a  fuel shortage;  I have been turned away from two filling stations where there is simply no petrol. These crises could have been averted by having competent people in decision-making positions.

How does this affect you, you ask? Well, your weakly (and weekly) Old Mastger post has been delayed by the lack of internet access. Today’s post is coming to you via cupped hand and a digital messenger-tortoise called Vodacrap. Their ‘service’ offering is so appalling, that posting an image is simply not doable. I am within sight of their tower antenna and the best they can do is EDGE speed. Younger readers in first world countries may need to Google what EDGE speed is. It is generally measured in “bits-per-hour”, rather than megabits per second.

Whenever possible, I will post an Old Master, or an update. Hopefully normal service will resume before I go on pension. Thank you for your patience.

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About Freud Fission Chips

Despite the banality of the name, FFC has led an intensely varied life. Grateful for surviving almost three years as a 'troepie' (soldier for non-South African Readers) in the Angolan war, he determined to wring as much out of life as possible. Currently providing Business Analysis services, trading on the stock market and developing web pages to pay the bills, FFC also dabbles in wildlife, landscape and people photography, writing, and far too many interests for his own good. He has also travelled extensively in southern Africa (working on the sound theory that a moving target is more dificult to hit). These peregrinations also include over 1500kms on foot through some of the worlds most spectacular scenery. It hasn't all been plain sailing, beer and skittles, and endless beds of roses... Chief amongst the prerequisites for surviving Africa, with its mind-bending characteristics, is an appropriate sense of humour.... So, for now, he will be recounting the amusing among the annoying, the frustrating wrapped in the funny and extracting the mirth from the melancholy... Oh yes, there might be some alliteration too.
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2 Responses to On Power Struggles in South Africa – and other disasters

  1. Fat Gary says:

    How annoying! Luckily where I am it never goes out for more than about 2 hours at a time, but it’s still majorly inconvenient. I work from home for a UK client and they were a little incredulous that the power could regularly be turned off!

    If it helps, I stay online between these times by using a 12V motorbike battery to power my ADSL router. Then my wifi and internet stays up! Ideally get yourself a 12V deep cycle battery (needs only be fairly small) and then you can probably do the same. Chances are your router runs on 12v (should say on it).

    Next step up is an inverter and some massive batteries, next step from that is to install a small solar panel to charge said battery if you’re without power for any length of time.

    • What ho Gary. It’s great having you visit, mate. Thanks muchly for the input…. Always valuable. I am currently using a 3 tiered power protection ‘system’. There is a subsidiary db board in computer room with surge protectors and earth leakage protection. Then there are the UPSs which give me a few minutes to get the genny going. For some of the stuff, I use two lead crystal deep cycle batteries with an inverter to give me 12v and 220v respectively. This helps to an extent. The 6KvA generator keeps the power up while petrol lasts. Right now, my main problem is Telkom’s ADSL line. Who knows when it will be back online? Eish! Hahaha. I must get your email addy so I can send you other news. In the meantime, have a lekker weekend.

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