Dear South African Government.

Dear South African Government, can we please have better service? Please!

Please provide a national airline that does not need to be subsidized or bailed-out year after year.

Please do not allow our tourist industry to be damaged by arbitrary, inconsistent visa regulations.

Please stop the waste of our tax money on “Rich Man” allowances, perks and salaries for hordes of Ministers.

Please stop spending our tax money on Appealing every Court Judgement that you don’t like.

Please get people who understand  electricity generation and distribution systems to run our national electricity generation and distribution system.

Please produce the political and legal climate that encourages the growth of our economy instead of the strangulation we have experienced in recent years.

Please realize this;  if your party keeps on putting inexperienced, unqualified, sleepy or self-serving  people into national, provincial, para-statals and local government, then South Africa will go down the drain.

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South Africans, It’s All Ours To Fix

If you feel like getting annoyed or depressed or gathering political ammunition, you could put together a list of South African scandals, farces, mess-ups and tragedies. You could include Marikana (“Violent miners”. “Trigger-happy police”), Prasa (” Tall locomotives”,  “Threats of murder”), Eskom (“Failure to build”, “Failure to maintain”), Cosas “Defending looting”, SAA “Forever failing”, Nkandla (“Too much”,”Nobody told me”, “No value there”), and Heaven knows how many others. The choice is unbelievable. The violence, the loss of lives, the sheer criminality and xenophobia is hair-raising, although not the worst in the world. The amount of money lost, wasted or stolen, that should have been carefully and effectively spent, is criminal, but also not the worst in the world. However, do you really want to draw up such a list of depressing and maddening things? Or do you want to do something about fixing things.

The people of South Africa spent decades to change the political and economic nature of the country. The people gained the right to universal adult suffrage in a democratic state. The people choose the Parliamentary parties and the individual Councillors at National, Provincial and Local government levels. The people are responsible for the quality of governance that prevails in this country. The problem is that too many of the people have stopped voting, have abandoned their right to vote, and are allowing a minority to re-elect the same politicians and the same officials, year-in and year-out, regardless of the farces, the failures, the waste and the maladministration.

In October 2016, the people of South Africa will have yet another chance to elect local government representatives, throughout the country. Local governance deals with everyone’s daily living conditions, and everyone knows who the local candidates are. Those elections will permit people to choose individuals on their own merit, not faceless party lists. The power to shift the nature of those in office, to influence the direction and morality of governance, will probably be at it’s all-time peak in October 2016.

No matter who is messing up at the moment, ordinary South Africans can fix things through the choices they make in that election.There will be about thirty-two million people eligible to register to vote at that time. Thirty-two million votes can move plenty. There is no reason to allow twelve million votes to herd the whole country. It’s all ours to fix.

It Didn’t Happen. We Were Not Aware. We’re Still In Office.

There is a never-ending stream of things about which our government and political figures know nothing, or about which they lie. Senior and junior officials, whether at national, provincial or local level, demonstrate this same trait. They deny, or don’t know about, or so they claim. So why are they still in office?

The latest ? Omar al-Bashir got into and out of South Africa, was here, wasn’t here, was on a ‘plane but was not on the ‘plane. None of our leading figures knew, or they knew different things, or they changed their minds about what they knew. His ‘plane was at OR Tambo, then it was at  Waterkloof, then it was off down the runway and gone. Our leaders knew nothing, or they lied about it.

Not long ago, our same leaders knew nothing about Gupta’s ‘plane flying into the same military airport. Maybe it was some juniors who arranged the landing rights, and the passport control, and the flight plans. Our country must be full of junior officials with lots of initiative. Our leading political figures knew nothing about this event, or they lied.

Our government signed up in support of the ICC, and even incorporated that support into our own law. In further support of the ICC and our own law, our judges ruled that al-Bashir should not be allowed to leave the country until certain matters of international and domestic law were determined. Our political and governmental figures ignored these things, or they turned a blind eye, or they claimed not to know what was going on. Or they lied, and were complicit.

We need foreign currency. We have tried to encourage tourists  to come here with their money. Suddenly one Minister of government, to the detriment of another Ministry,  enforces visa and passport conditions that choke the stream of tourists. Two government Ministers could not talk sense into each other, or they are in ignorance of each others doings. The Minister who put blocks in the travelers path is the same Minister who was supposed to ensure good management of our national airline, which carries travelers. He couldn’t fix the airline, and now he’s messing up our flow of tourists. The President is responsible for the appointment of these Ministers. He seems not to know much about their abilities, or he couldn’t care.

The National Prosecution Authority seems unable to conduct a successful case against police officers who restrain, then shoot a protester at point blank range, in front of dozens of people. The head of the NPA has been changed so many times that it is no wonder the NPA is in disarray. The office of Commissioner of Police has been filled and emptied over and again, just like the head of NPA office. These appointments are made by our President. Why can’t he make successful appointments?

The government of the country is in the hands of the ANC, with a huge majority in just about every chamber of government, at every level. Their job is to see that things work, that the economy thrives, that the people get proper and appropriate facilities and services, that the payment for those services are collected and re-utilized for further improvements. The ANC has been in the job for over 20 years, yet somehow they seem unable or unwilling to appoint capable people who get the right things done. They seem unaware how to maintain roads, or traffic control systems. They seem unable to ensure a steady supply of medicine to hospitals or clinics. Likewise school books do not get to where they are needed. They seem unable to keep the lights on, though they own Eskom.

At the other end of the scale, our government and political leaders seem to know exactly how to collect good salaries, how to advance the quality and quantity of their perks and allowances, and how to advance the fortunes of their friends and family. They seem very capable of utilizing legal services to avoid carrying out instructions of the courts, or of avoiding punishment for failure to do their work properly. Instead, golden handshakes for failures, or inconvenient appointees, are becoming famous.

It seems to me that the citizens of this country do not realize that they are being cheated and let down. Why else do they allow the same people to sit in Parliament, to sit in municipal councils, year after year?

There have been General Elections, Provincial Elections, Municipal Elections, and By-Elections, over and again. Within political parties, at national level or branch level, there have been elections and selections of office-bearers and candidates. At each election, at each and every level, there has been an opportunity to make changes to who leads, who represents, who governs. For some reason, the citizens choose not make the changes. I wish someone could tell me why.

I Did Thick Butter on White Bread

I’m a perfect example of one who knows, yet behaves like one who knows not.

Today I bought a warm, crisp-crusted loaf of white bread, and ate slice after slice, spread thick with real butter. Real butter is good, and that’s what I use, but why did I buy and gobble that white bread?

I know full well that refined carbs, particularly refined wheat flour, is not good food for me. I know that it spikes my blood sugar. I know that it brings a flood of insulin. I know that this will fatten me around my middle. But I smelled it, and I fell for the smell. My senses lusted for that childhood memory of fresh bread and butter. This is addiction at work, showing it’s power lasts and lasts.

We humans have been attracted to carbohydrate foods and sweet stuff like wild honey for thousands of years. It wasn’t a problem a hundred thousand years ago, because it wasn’t freely available. To get honey you had to find bee hives, and you had to face the stings. To get the carbs out of wild grains took some hard chewing, or heavy labour hand-grinding the seeds, or finding and stick-digging the tubers and roots. There was no danger of being overwhelmed by tons of carbs every day.

Once we turned the corner towards the cultivation of wheat-like plants and learned to raise other carb-laden crops, we became more deeply hooked. History tells us about the flat bread-like goodies we learned to make thousands of years ago. We love the flavour of baked or roasted carbs. The thing that saved us from going overboard was that we couldn’t produce it and store it in sufficient quantities. That changed radically about 140 years ago, with the development of roller mills. At about the same time, the milling and extracting of sugar also took off. Suddenly the delicious stuff was freely available, and we became really hooked.

So, after hundreds of thousands of years of evolution,  suddenly we have a sickening over-abundance of starches and sugars, and our bodily chemistry becomes swamped. We know we should not indulge in so much sweet and starchy stuff. We know our grandmothers warned us of the dangers 70 to 100 years ago, but we still go for it, because it is freely available. That’s addiction.

@dieticianSA Glad you noticed

I’m happy you noticed my simple ‘engineers view’.

The more we dig into food topics, the more it becomes obvious that we have become too clever for our own good

We are just simple animals,but with a big brain.

Our food needs are simple, and have been for a million years.

Our present-day problems come from messing around with food selection in last 10,000 years,but speeding up in last 50 years.

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peter lawton @petermushroom99
@peregrinus33669 @dieticianSA Engineers view: Building plan=DNA. – -Building materials=foodstuffs.- -Great plan but wrong material wrecks house

With That “Well-Fed Look”, Will You Die Early?

@MarikaSboros

peterrdlawton

Where were the dietitians and nutritionists when I was a boy? Where was my mother supposed to learn what to feed us? How were we to avoid starvation or obesity or T2 Diabetes? Who was supposed to instruct the food manufacturers how to make and preserve  balanced, nutritious industrial-quantity foods?

Dear Lord, how were we to survive and thrive?

But we did thrive. All around the world, for thousands upon thousands of years, we found and ate what we needed for body and brain. For the most part we got it right, or else we would have died out long ago. And guess what; there were no Associations of Dietitians to tell us what to select for dinner!

There was no manufactured food in the village where we lived, in the hills, in Burma, in the 1940s.  I doubt there ever had been. Nobody was starving. Nobody was overweight in…

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