Protesting against excellent service delivery… Yes, that’s absolute poo!

Dear Editor

Two months ago I moved from Durban to Cape Town. For the 5 years prior to my move, I had been a ward councillor in the eThekwini Municipality.

In eThekwini, I had elicited much anger from the mayor and his colleagues highlighting the extent of slums built by the City (called ‘transit camps’) with broken or non-existent sanitation. I had pointed out that very little and very often no sanitation is provided to many of the informal settlements in the eThekwini. I had campaigned in vain to see the delivery of these basic services fundamental to human dignity.

Compared with the non-existent delivery of sanitation in parts eThekwini and in other town and cities, the near total delivery of sanitation in Cape Town stands alone in South Africa. I had noted the ‘poo protests’ before my arrival in Cape Town, but it was only once I arrived here that I understood what was actually going on: these are the first major protests against effective service delivery.

The mere fact that the protesters throw containers onto the road or empty them in public places means that toilets exist for the containers to be removed from. If the protests were truly about the delivery of sanitation to the poor, then why are the protesters not targeting governments where delivery has failed and people are still required to ablute in circumstances considered inhumane?

This campaign gives us a glimpse into the worst of our politics. The activists are protesting the effective delivery of a government they fiercely dislike, and in doing so vandalise working sanitation services in their attempts to disrupt the government and economy of the City. Their motivation is not to secure better service delivery, but instead to frustrate and cost the City and its people as much as possible while protesting effective delivery by their political opponents.

Their ruse is paper thin, and every toilet they disable through their action, every ounce of job-creating productivity they disrupt, impacts negatively on the very people they purport to stand up for – and the people know it. It is thus no wonder that their party has been forced to act against them.

Yours faithfully
Warwick Chapman

Lady Mondegreen, an eggcorn, a malapropism and mumpsimus…

A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. (eg. “pre-Madonna” instead of “prima donna”)

The unintentionally incorrect use of similar-sounding words or phrases in speaking is a malapropism. (eg. “intensive purposes” instead of “intents and purposes”)

If there is a connection in meaning, it can be called an eggcorn. (eg. “old timers” instead of “Alzheimers”)

If a person stubbornly sticks to a mispronunciation after being corrected, that can be described as mumpsimus.

Just for the sport of it, how about “reverse Mondegreens”:

Some nonsensical lyrics can be interpreted homophonically as rational text. A prominent example is Mairzy Doats, a 1943 novelty song by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston. The lyrics are a mondegreen and it is up to the listener to figure out what they mean.

The refrain of the song repeats nonsensical sounding lines:
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe

The clue to the meaning is contained in the bridge:
If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey,
Sing “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.”

The listener can figure out that the last line of the refrain is “A kid’ll eat ivy, too; wouldn’t you?”, but this line is sung only as a mondegreen.

To the Justice Verma Committee

LETTER

To the Justice Verma Committee

I visited India in 2009 and to this day consider it the most interesting and friendly country I have ever visited. I would return in an instant if the opportunity arose.

India is known the world over for its association with peace, spirituality and vibrance. The Satyagraha that Mr Gandhi developed while in my country, South Africa, was pivotal to your nation’s own independence.

When I visited in 2009, it was clear then that, not unlike my own country, the general populace were beginning to grow very concerned with the disconnect between those elected to lead the country and the needs of the people. Corruption and all the ills associated with it seem to be a growing trend in developing countries like ours.

In South Africa we are just emerging from possibly the deadliest festive season in history as far as traffic fatalities are concerned, with an estimated 1600 people to have been killed on our roads in the past month. Corruption and poor management are to blame, with Police not doing enough about drunk and reckless driving, and other departments failing in their duty to keep unroadworthy vehicles off the roads.

I use this example because it shows how a government that no longer has its finger on the pulse, a government which is focused on political games and self-enrichment, is a government which does little to make the lives of their citizens, most especially the poor, any better.

The grotesque crime against Jyoti Singh Pandey in your country has been closely followed in mine. South Africa has one of the highest incidence of rape in the world and it is said that nearly two thirds of all South African men are rapists, just worse than the around one quarter of Indian men.

Rape in South Africa is another example of a serious issue which affects the lives of South Africans significantly and yet goes relatively unaddressed by our elected leaders. I expect our leaders to speak out on a regular basis about rape, gender discrimination, and the broader ills affecting our society caused by corruption but they do not.

But far more than that, in the second decade of the 21st century, it is high time that leaders started to actively do something about these crimes. The ability and willingless of our respective government machinery to investigate and prosecute rape cases leaves much to be desired. Often far more debilitating than the lack of competent forensic facilities, is the attitude of the investigators and other officials to the crime. Too many men regard rape as something that women must just get over, and far too many more regard rape as something that certain women ask for.

To that I say the following: “Rape is not something that happens to a certain type of woman. Rape is something perpetrated by a certain type of man.”

We need to sensitise our societies and sharpen our law enforcement to the point where the most despised and most harshly punished individuals are the perpetrators of rape.

A political leader who has an interest in maintaining access to the levers of power they so desire would do well to take this and related issues very seriously going forward. The Arab Spring of the past two years has shown the world that the general populace of any country, especially the youth, will tolerate only so much before they revolt. We needn’t ever learn that lesson again.

Please consider signing the petition here and sending an email to the Justice Verma Commission yourself.

Faithfully
Warwick Chapman
eThekwini, South Africa

List of DA Public Reps on Twitter

Hola tweeps – if I am missing one or if the handle has changed, let me (@warwickchapman) know:

@AnnetteLovemore – MP
@BenedictaVanMin – Cllr
@BrenvanderMerwe – Cllr
@ChrisHattinghDA – MPL
@Cilliers_Brink – Cllr
@CllrMack90 – Cllr
@DAJohniDA – Cllr
@DALimpopo (Desiree van der Walt) – MP
@DebbieSchafer – MP
@DKB20 – MP
@Elza_Van_Lingen – MP
@FredNelDA – MPL
@FrontLineGreg – MP
@GrahamGersbach – Cllr
@Grantpascoe – Cllr
@HlangananiGumbi – Cllr
@JFTerblanche – MP/L
@JackBloomDA – MPL
@JanetSemple1 – MPL
@Jo1Coetzee – Cllr
@LanceGreyling – MP
@LindiMazibuko – MP
@MaimaneAM – Cllr
@Makashule – Cllr
@MichaelWatersMP – MP
@NicoleGraham031 – Cllr
@PatriciaDeLille – Cllr
@PietervanDalen – MP
@RowanThiele – Cllr
@ShinnMarian – MP
@SizweMchunu – MPL
@SquireLees – MP
@StevensonBobby – MPL
@StuartPringle1 – Cllr

@alanwinde – MPL / MEC
@andrewseddie – Cllr
@brandontopham – Cllr
@brettherron – Cllr
@clrashor – Cllr
@davebryantct – Cllr
@deanwmacpherson – Cllr
@elmarielinde – Cllr
@gareth_morgan – MP
@geordinhl – MP
@helenzille – MPL / Premier
@henrokruger – Cllr
@ianneilson – Cllr
@ianollis – MP
@ivan2meyer – MPL
@jamesselfe3 – MP
@jsteenhuisen – MP
@kmileham – Cllr
@lanceweyer – Cllr
@mbalimcdust – Cllr
@mda_atwork – Cllr
@mikemo702 – MPL
@rosierau – Cllr
@rickcrouch – Cllr
@bevschafer – Cllr
@timharris – MP
@warwickchapman – Cllr
@wilmotjames – MP