Trashing the northern suburbs to bring equality to the new SA
The ANC-dominated local government appears to have rather set its heart on the idea of a megacity structure for Johannesburg and does not seem at all keen on arguments against the idea, particularly if the objections come from complaining whiteys who have refused to enter into the spirit of the New South Africa.
Obsessed with falling property values, crime, litter and the gradual collapse of essential services, they fail to appreciate the essential magic of the moment, which is that we are all free now. Free to urinate in the street, to nail our business cards to trees, to build squatter shacks in bird sanctuaries and to set up fast-food stalls on busy street corners where we can throw the uneaten scraps into the street and wash the dirty dishes in the gutter.
The fact that many aspirant restaurateurs still choose the laborious route of paying high rentals for premises in a shopping centre, filling in countless official forms, applying for the necessary licences and satisfying the stringent fire and health regulations is of no consequence. If people will persist in hanging on to these outdated values, they have only themselves to blame.
Thanks to the ANC, we now have real democracy in this country and, hot on its heels, virtual equality. All right, it may be equality of the lowest common denominator, but at least its equality. It's far simpler to create a society where medical care is equally appalling for everybody, where the standard of education is uniformly atrocious and where all roads have pot holes, not just those in the townships. The trashing of the northern suburbs, for example, is nothing more than an elaborate plan to bring about equality speedily. Pretty soon you won't be able to tell the difference between Athol and Alex, which is exactly how it should be in a truly democratic society.
SO, depending on your circumstances, you can either moan about falling property values or cheer affordable property prices. A large house on an acre in once fashionable Bryanston shouldn't cost you much more than R600 000 these days, about the same price as a two-bedroomed flat in Sea Point.
So we move on to the idea of a megacity, where powers would be centralised and no areas of Johannesburg would have any appreciable advantage over others. The mugs who still pay their rates every month would have the satisfaction of knowing that their money would go into a huge pot for the benefit of all. If this means that rubbish gets collected only every two months or that broken street lamps can be repaired only once an investigative committee has established that there are an equal number of broken street lamps in each street, then that's how it has to be.
For far too long people have assumed that, because they pay rates, they should be entitled to expect certain services. Not so. In ANC thinking, rates are seen as an extra tax on the rich. The fact that so many people still pay them without flinching is surely more a sign that they have far too much disposable income rather than of any desire to be responsible citizens. After all, anybody concerned about their struggle credibility wouldn't dream of paying rates.
The fact that about 82 000 Johannesburg residents out of a poll of approximately 84 000 rejected the idea of a megacity cuts no ice with Gauteng MEC Sicelo Shiceka or premier-apparent Comrade Mathole Motshekga, who regard the whole referendum as a complete waste of time. Admittedly, 82 000 out of a population of 3.5-million may not be a truly representative sample but, unless you had gone shopping last weekend, you probably wouldn't have voted anyway.
IN THE less than ideal circumstances in which the referendum was conducted, the "no" vote gives an overwhelming thumbs down to the idea of a megacity for Johannesburg. More significant, though (and this is what particularly irks the ANC politburo), the 82 000 who voted against the idea of a megacity were almost certainly wandering around shopping centres and spending money. This probably indicates that many of them are economically active and may even be the sort of shocking people who create wealth. In other words, precisely the sort of people Johannesburg should be trying to attract. If the ANC persists with its absurd idea of a megacity, we must expect to see Johannesburg sink further into the mire.