I am hoping that this would be my final installment on the HOV.
Yesterday, while driving home, I decided to use my phone a little bit constructively. I took some pictures of the cars and traffic around me.
We were traveling slowly most of the time, so I thought that I'd get some pics for this post.
Here I am going through the Buccleuch Interchange at a snail's pace.
Naturally, while sitting in traffic like this, there is a lot of time to do some thinking. I was wondering why the government would want to come up with an idea like this. Who would really benefit from this? Surely, when they thought of this idea, it must have crossed their mind (I hope) as to who would benefit most from HOV?
Asking that question in the negative may also be a bit revealing. Who would benefit the least from such an arrangement?
In this pic on the right you can see one of our "highly esteemed" taxis dashing across a solid yellow and white line. This is one of the "small" taxi infractions. They would usually come from behind on my right from the highway, ride on the right-hand side of the solid white line till they get to the position in this pic and then decide whether to go to the left or the right. In the past, before the HOV started, they would get to the front and then dash across to the yellow shoulder on the left of the left-hand lane at this position. That way they would cruise as far as they could without being stopped by the Metro Police (MP).
In fact, these taxi drivers have become quite pushy on our highways to the extent that they will drive on the outside of the white or yellow lines and simply shove the noses of their taxis in front of the car where they would want to push in. It has come to the point where it seems that they feel it is their right to drive anywhere and anyway they like to.
Again, I noticed the police standing on the right of the HOV lane. In this case, they were just standing there doing nothing. In fact, I saw several MPs standing there having a good chat ignoring the traffic.
However, there were those MPs who deemed it their job to instruct non-compliant vehicles to move back to the middle lane. This became a bit of a laugh, since many drivers simply ignored the police and carried on driving in the HOV lane. Like this vehicle on the right, there is just no way that it could have had 3 or more occupants!
Other drivers would quickly jump back into the middle lane about 100m or so from the police and then only meters after passing the cops would they get back into the HOV lane! There is very little regard for the cops or this new HOV lane. And, it is not a case that only whites or only blacks showed contempt, but all kinds of people ignored the rules regarding the HOV lane!
What frustrates people is that the left and middle lanes are sometimes jam-packed while the HOV lane is free flowing with large gaps between cars! Then it is expected of non-HOV vehicles to just keep moving at a snail's pace while the HOV lane is quite capable of taking more traffic. Traffic rules should be used to keep traffic flowing, not stifle it!
Back to the question I asked in the beginning: who would the HOV benefit the most? It seems to me that it certainly would not benefit people with their own cars most. As I have explained in part 1 of this series, I am the only one in my company that travels from Pretoria to Johannesburg. I would even venture to say that there are many cases similar to mine. The point is, if those who drive this route everyday are compared as a percentage of all people working in Johannesburg, then I am sure it would make up a small percentage of the whole.
What does that mean? The chances of finding someone who lives relatively close to you in Pretoria and who works for the same company or another one close by, are quite slim. Include into that the fact that most people, even in the same company simply do not work the same hours.
If you are wondering what happened to the answer to the initial question: I am getting there!
Now, the reason given by the Department of Transport for this "brainy" project, is to minimize the amount of vehicles on the road and the stress they cause on the existing road infrastructure. The fact is that this will not happen until we have a good public transport system (PTS)! Without a good, reliable PTS, people that have their own vehicles will not opt for anything else. Yet, I am sure the government knew this even before they thought of this plan.
So, what remains? Who will then really benefit from this?
Who cannot currently afford their own vehicles and MUST make use of the currently dismal public transport system or buses and taxis? It is sad to say, but the black people of this country cannot afford it yet. Further, the voter base of the ANC led government is mainly black. It is my contention, that the HOV project seems to me to be more a political venture in order to secure the loyalty of the ANC's voter base, than it is to make life better for all South Africans!
Almost all taxi drivers are black, and therefore make up a considerable amount of the ANC's voter base. They are the ones that would break the laws on road use most flagrantly. They are also the ones that, in my opinion, are the most dangerous drivers in this country. Obviously not all of them! There are those that stick to the rules of the road. However, every single day, as I travel through places like the Buccleuch Interchange, these taxis would be traveling on the yellow shoulder to bypass the traffic. And, it is never just one or two of them! I have counted as much as 15 at a time doing this! With the new HOV, they would no longer have to jump from lane to lane, or even yellow shoulder to lane, in order to get to their destination as quick as possible. They would have their own lane to use with no interference from those pesky car owners!
Just yesterday, there was a taxi strike in Cape Town that turned violent. These taxi drivers complained about cops giving them fines. Why would cops give them fines? For a total disregard for the rules of the road and for unroadworthy vehicles! Do they not get it? Break the law and you must be punished. I guess they would rather want to, as taxi drivers, have the right to drive what they want, where they want, anyhow they want without fear of the law! The fact is that taxi drivers like to see themselves as a law unto themselves!
It amazes me that, when the government shows its incompetence in creating better, affordable traveling infrastructure, they would rather punish the people of this country than provide real solutions. They hardly punish the ones who cause the problem, and would rather like to make it easier for the unruly voter base to be appeased. This concept of government is quite glaringly obvious in the fact that this government is doing their best to remove guns from the hands of law abiding citizens while criminals run around with AK47s! Yet this is another subject not at hand right now.
I just hope that the government will sit and think hard and continuously for more than 5 minutes before they decide that the HOV pilot project was successful and then to implement it!
The real challenges are still ahead!
Friday, October 27, 2006
I am hoping that this would be my final installment on the HOV.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
In my first missive on the subject of the HOV 3 Lane Project (HOV), I am sure I came across as irritated, frustrated and just plain angry.
To tell you the truth, by the time the first day of the HOV was over and the authorities dared to call it a success, I was livid. It was almost as if they came from a different planet and did not see what was happening on the tarmac!
Well, this morning ushered in the 3rd day of the HOV. The flow of traffic was certainly better than on Monday, and instead of it taking me as long as 1 hour 55 minutes as on Monday, it still took 1 hour 22 minutes. Certainly it should not take someone that long to travel between the eastern suburbs of Pretoria and the northern suburbs of Johannesburg at that time of the morning?! When leaving at 05:50, one would expect good traffic flow.
Yet, this is still not the case with HOV! From my observations this morning, I can see why it was a bit quicker than on Monday. Many, many more people simply ignored the HOV and even ignored the Metro Police telling them to move over to the middle lane. These Metro Police officers also were not consistent this morning. Out of the blue they would step out into the HOV lane and force non-compliant vehicles back into the slow lanes. Then, for no apparent reason, they would just chat among themselves until they felt like stopping someone again. In the meantime, many non-compliant vehicles would pass them without a problem.
What did the Transport Department expect? People are not just going to sit happily in the tortoise lanes while the rabbit lane is cruising along with long gaps between rabbits, and then not make use of the easy cruising in the rabbit lane?!
I would like to know how they are going to enforce the HOV? If they decide that the HOV was successful at the end of this week, are they going to have Metro Police sitting next to the middle lane until the return of the King, slowing down traffic, telling people to move to the middle lane? This would be pure blindness to the effect that that will have!
If I had to implement the HOV, I would not use the right-hand fast lane, but rather the left-hand lane. Why would I do this? There are three reasons:
- The left-hand lane will then have less traffic and will be more open for vehicles joining the highway.
- Related to the first, when there is less traffic traveling in the left-hand lane, then the merge with the cars coming onto the highway will be smoother causing less consternation to vehicles already on the highway.
- Vehicles using the HOV lane (left-hand lane) which do not comply with the HOV rules will be able to be taken off the tarmac for fining purposes without having an adverse effect as bad as it would be when the HOV is the right-hand lane.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Many of us travel on the N1 Ben Schoeman highway from Pretoria to Johannesburg during peak traffic hours to get to work in the mornings.
Those that do were met with a traffic jam worthy of writing home about yesterday morning, 23 October 2006! I was so fed up by the time that I arrived at work that I wrote the following letter to the South African Department of Transport and also to the Pretoria News letters page.
Re: the article by Trevor Goshi called "N1 dedicated lane aims to change behaviour."
I travel to Woodmead from Pretoria every day. I leave at 05:50 every morning and get to work usually at 06:45. Sometimes I get to work a little earlier at 06:40. However, my average travelling time is 55 minutes. This morning was the first morning of the HOV 3 Lane Project. I decided to remain in the middle lane for the duration of my trip.
Instead of travelling for 55 minutes, this morning it took me a full 1 hour and 55 minutes. That is more than double the time it usually takes!!!
In my opinion, this idea is like a still-born baby. It is a dead project from the beginning.
Most cars with less than 3 people tried to stay in the first two lanes, and as a result the right-hand lane moved much faster than us. Yet, there were empty taxis, empty buses and trucks with only the driver that travelled in the right-hand lane! It is quite pointless to have these High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs) use the right-hand lane when they are empty!
This is most certainly one of the most profoundly stupid ideas that the government has ever come up with yet!
Existing road usage laws could have been used to ease the traffic currently on our highways. The one that would have been most effective would have been the 3 second "following distance" law! The highway gets congested because people do not keep their distances and as a result the traffic does not flow but "concertinas." If people kept their following distances then the flow from entrances onto the highways would be easier when they merge with highway traffic. This law should have been enforced, rather than disadvantage 90% of cars travelling between Pretoria and Johannesburg!
That is my piece for now!
Well, a reporter from the Pretoria News called me this morning and wanted to know more. He asked me some questions and then asked me to keep in touch in order to give him more info about how it is going with the HOV 3 Lane Project.
The amazing thing is that yesterday afternoon when I left work for home, I reached the Buccleuch Interchange and we really travelled through that interchange at a snail's pace. It usually takes me one hour to get home in the evenings. However, it took me one hour just to get through the Buccleuch interchange!
And you would never guess what the cause of this delay was! Oh, you know?! The Johannesburg Metro Police!
If you look at the map you will see that there are three circles on the map. The circle at the top marks the Allandale exit. There was an accident just north of the exit. Now, the idea with this HOV 3 Lane Project is to give preference to vehicles with 3 or more people. However, with this accident blocking the first two lanes we just could not move. The Metro Police had a new baby project to enforce, and enforce it they would! The first two lanes were practically standing still.
However, the right hand lane had very few cars in it and these cars were really motoring. What these police officers would do is to stand on the edge of the third or right-hand lane and force cars with less than three occupants to move over to the first two lanes.
With an accident ahead, I would have thought that it would be MUCH MORE important to get traffic flowing than to enforce such a puerile idea as the HOV 3 Lane Project!
This government of ours is trying so hard to create car free days instead of organizing CRIME FREE days!!! Read about the crime in my suburb!
At the bottom of the map you will see a big circle surrounding the Buccleuch Interchange and a red line with an arrow pointing in the direction of traffic flow. From the left-hand edge of this circle on the N1 to the first little circle with the N1 sign in it, it took me an hour! One of the square blocks on the map equals 1Km (0.62mi)! The distance covered in that one hour is less than 2Kms (1.24mi)!
The most amazing thing of all is that the officials from the transport department and the Metro Police saw the first day of this foolish endeavour as a success!
The problem with deciding that it was a success is that these people do not ride this road everyday to get to work and back! So, it is easy to make such a horrendously foolish statement!
The government wants less cars on our roads, so they want us to ride in lift-clubs. My problem with this idea is that:
- I am the only one in my company that travels to Woodmead from Pretoria.
- We all work on different time schedules. With my extra-curricular involvement, I can have up to 3 meetings in one week after hours. I need my car in order to make these meetings. These meetings can be anywhere from Pretoria to Alberton.
- If I am part of a lift-club, then I will always have to wait for others before we go, or if I need to get home for one or other reason I will have to wait for the driver of the day.
It has been said of this government:
Thursday, October 19, 2006
"A woman whose mother was murdered is fuming at Pretoria High Court judge Justice Ntsikelelo Poswa's decision to grant R1 000 bail to the 64-year-old's alleged killers.
"Judge Poswa's decision to grant bail to Abram Mabena, 22, and Oupa Frans Bofu, 25, has also been slammed by a full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), who have just released their reasons for nullifying the bail order last month and reissuing warrants for the men's arrest."
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I bet you think that this is sick and twisted. You would be right in thinking so! However, in the world and in South Africa we have something similar going on!
Sure, the 'god' Molech now has a different look and feel and one can say that he has undergone a radical transformation. Whereas previously he was someone separate from the worshippers, he has now become one with them.
You see, Molech has transformed himself into the personal self of each of his worshippers. Today, each of Molech's worshippers is only looking out for himself and the depraved pleasures of this life.
In the same way that Molech demanded the sacrifice of a child more than 2000 years ago, he still demands the sacrifice of a child today!
That sacrifice of innocent lives that Molech and his endless pleasures demand today has transformed itself from the sacrifice of fire to the sacrifice of abortion. This sacrifice is no longer a sacrifice of appeasement to a 'god' bent on the destruction of his worshippers, but rather it is a sacrifice of all that is good to appease the insatiable desire for endless pleasures devoid of responsibility.
There is a new 'god' on the block and his name is 'self.' 'Self' has proclaimed himself greater than the lives of others, even the lives of innocent unborn children. All of this under the guise that it is legal under South African law. Is it so difficult to understand that the South African law is not an eternal law but can be changed tomorrow or the day after that?
Legality does not make something right! Tomorrow it may be wrong!
While Molech has transformed himself into the personal 'self' and the sinful, selfish desires of a generation that just cannot grow up into adulthood, thousands of children are being murdered because adults, with the mentality of children, cannot become responsible for their actions. This mentality of perpetual youth can only live in the moment and simply cannot see how their actions today will affect them tomorrow. It is time for this generation to grow up and to take responsibility for its actions.
Abortion is simply another way to worship 'self.' While those that have become pregnant are "too busy" with their lives and careers, they simply make the sacrifice of a child in order to avoid the imprisonment of child care. The appeasement of 'self' is all that matters.
The murder of children is wrong, whether it is this side of the birth canal or the other!
It is time to let this government know that we will not just stand here and watch them allow the murder of innocent children in the womb!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
"Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, has described the South African constitution as 'fiercely anti-life through its drive to promote contraception, abortion on demand and same-sex marriages'."
I agree completely with this sentiment. Read the whole article here.
Monday, October 09, 2006
This is revealed on the front page of the Pretoria News of Monday, October 9, 2006.
A police constable, who is supposed to put his life on the line for that of fellow citizens, after medical aid, pension and other deductions can take home as little as R4,800 a month! Just to put this into perspective for our international readers, at today's exchange rate, this currently amounts to a paltry $612 (486 euro) per month. From this the constable must pay for the school fees of his children, clothes for his kids, petrol, food, insurance, etc.
While some of our government officials take their buddies to dinners worth R95,000 ($12,120), police constables are living right at the edge of starvation and perhaps bankruptcy! Even though it is wrong for the police to take bribes, I can understand it!
It amazes me that our government is willing to spend many billions of rands on military acquisitions, yet we have a situation in our police force which is terribly underpaid and completely understaffed! At the same time, they do not have enough resources such as police vehicles.
I heard a little birdie sing in my ear (whether it is true or not, I do not know) that the police is in possession of millions of rands worth of forensic equipment, but no one qualified enough to use it! No wonder crime is so ridiculously high in this country.
I was also at a Community Police Forum meeting a month or two ago, and we heard that the Tshwane (Pretoria) Metro Police business plan has not been approved by the city council since 2001!
All of this adds to the current status of South Africa as one of the most crime ridden countries in the world!
What is the government doing about it? All the government does is talk about a 6 month plan and this type of plan and yet another. It is all just talk! There is no visible change on the ground.
It is time this ANC led government does something of real value concerning the remuneration of its police members and the crime in this country!
This last Saturday, October 07, 2006, the last of the "For Marriage" marches was held in Pretoria, South Africa.
As I wrote in my previous post concerning this march, it amazes me that people can still have this it-won't-make-a-difference attitude.
Well, it doesn't amaze me therefore that there were only about 300 people that participated in the march. At least, these it-won't-make-a-difference Christians stuck to their defeatist worldview and didn't come to the march.
Here is a city of about 1.3 million people and only 300 participated in this march! My guess is that almost all churches were informed about this march. There are at least 2 mega churches in the city (2,000+ members). Both of these have more than 5,000 members. I am a member of one of these, and have been since 1986. I had a look around at the people at the march and recognised 11 people from my church. I have to add that of these 11, 9 were there because of political affiliation to the ACDP. That means that my church had only 2 people there!
I wonder why there were so few from my own church? My guess is because NOT one of our 24 pastors was there. Yes, you read correctly! We have a church with about 24 pastors and not one of them came to the march! I suppose if the pastors don't lead, the sheep won't follow!
From the other 5,000+ church at least the head pastor was there. However, his denomination (supposedly Reformed in theology), made it clear on national Christian radio that they do not support these marches.
What will these men and women who did not stand up for Biblical marriages in the public arena tell their children one day when they are asked why they did not march? "Dad, did you not care enough about my future to march against evil?" "Am I not worth marching for?" "Do you love your sport more than you love me?" "Am I not even worth a day's wages?"
Some parents saw their children marching but were unwilling to march themselves! What kind of a message does this send to our children? That we are not willing to stand up for what is righteous? "Backbone, oh backbone! Where art thou?"
It all comes down to priorities and worldview. The priorities can only be in order when there is a proper Biblical worldview! A correctly applied Biblical worldview will make adjustments to priorities, so that other things like sport and money and personal welfare will not stand in the way of our battle for a righteous government who would be willing to enact righteous laws.
I kind of asked a rhetorical question as to why not one of our church's pastors was there and the answer from someone was that the pastors are tired. Too tired to stand up for what is right? I wonder what Paul would say in situation like that? Paul was shipwrecked and left for dead 3 times and so many more terrible things happened to him. Yet, our pastors are tired!
It seems to me that the church is in a coma or at least not conscious at the moment and is in real need of resuscitation! What will it take for the church in South Africa to be willing in the day of God's power? Oh, yes! The church is waiting for some mystical wind to blow over them to give them some sort of supernatural power! Until then, it is business as usual.
These Christians that are unwilling to stand up for righteousness in the political arena are the typical "couch" Christian. They are the armchair Christians. They sit and watch and have lots of comments to the team playing, but are unwilling to participate.
I suppose that when all "hell" breaks loose around us, these same people will say, "It won't make a difference!"
Like I said before, and I say it again, when 30 million Christians do nothing, I guess, then "it won't make a difference!"
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Update 10 October 2006: Here is a picture and article on the march from the Pretoria News of 9 October 2006.
Friday, October 06, 2006
As always, the South African government thinks that the crime situation in the country is ' rosy'! It is not just in South Africa that we think our crime statistics are absolutely horrendous. Even the Boston Globe picked up on this in their article South African murders hit scary rate.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I am still so amazed at many South African Christians.
The final "For Marriage" march will be held this coming Saturday in Pretoria at 09:30 from the Pretoria Art Museum to the Union Buildings. The museum is located on the corner of Wessels and Pretorius.
The amazement is that so many Christians still say "It won't make a difference!"
I was quite astonished when I heard this! What is even more amazing is that it came from people that were supposedly mature Christian folk! It sounds more like Christians whose spiritual muscles have atrophied!
The fact that no difference is being made in this country is exactly because so many Christians have this it-won't-make-a-difference attitude! Of course, we will not make a difference if 30 million Christians think like that. There are way too many Christians that are apathetic to righteous causes thinking that perhaps someone else will do it for them.
If this was the attitude of great Christian men like William Wilberforce, John Newton and David Livingstone, then perhaps we still would have traded with slaves today!
Listen my dear Christian friend, it is not someone else that must make a difference in this country on your behalf! In this game of life, there are no reserves that can be called up after half-time. We all have to play. No-one is excused! It is not the person next to you that will make the difference anymore. It now depends on YOU!
If you see no difference in South Africa as the years march on, then it would be futile to point to others that they did not do enough. The old saying, "The buc stops here!" has you in mind!
The buc stops with me and YOU!