This mayhem is driving us mad
A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband when he burst into the kitchen.
"Careful," he cried, "CAREFUL! Put some more butter in! Oh my goodness! You're cooking too many at once. Too many! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my word! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to stick! Careful ... You NEVER listen to me! NEVER!"
The wife stared at him in amazement, "What on earth is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"
The husband calmly replied: "I wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."
Any of us could be in this story, particularly as South Africans seem to have adopted a rather freestyle form of driving. It seems anything goes on our roads, and if more and more motorists break the road rules often enough, more will begin to follow suit and the wrong driving habits will start to become an acceptable norm.
Take, for instance, driving in the yellow lane. At first it was something only taxi drivers did, and respectable motorists shook their heads in despair.
Then, one day, a few bright motorists decided two wrongs did indeed make a right and followed suit.
A similar attitude has begun to creep into other aspects of road use and South Africans are slowly but surely starting to create their own road rules. Coupled with a road infrastructure which does little to enhance efficient daily commuting, it seems our country is on a fast, downward spiral towards a dangerously ungovernable situation.
Perhaps traffic light maintenance is a technical and complex business, maybe filling potholes does require round-table discussion and legislation, and quite possibly traffic law enforcement and a functional judiciary system do require strong incorruptible leadership.
But just how many council workers on government payroll does it take to paint lines on the road?
With that in mind, I find it almost inconceivable that the authorities are all but ready to enforce a pay-as-you-drive system on our roads - yet none of the road authorities can collectively slap a lick of paint on a road. E-tolling was then a little like putting the roof on the house before the pillars were in place, wasn't it?
Speaking of e-tolls; that particular tug-of-war is a little reminiscent of a high-school romance - on again/off again - and, while we are on in "off-again" moment, perhaps we should reflect on the pros and cons of the system. There are three ways this scenario could play out: not upgrade the roads at all; upgrade the roads and pay for them via the country's annual budget; upgrade the roads and have them paid for through a tolling system.
While the proposed costs seem rather expensive, they do not compare to the costs of not upgrading the roads.
Construction and maintenance of roads is a necessity, which needs to be financed. However, if the basics are not currently being taken care of, with the resources at hand, why did our leaders think they could introduce a tolling system?
No wait, that would have been a couple of modern day knights in shining armour who proposed this system to the poor and helpless natives in deep, dark Africa.
Kind of makes you wonder though, if painting roads will soon become the brainchild of some European company as well.
Alright, so that's a touch below the belt, so I take it back and, instead, ask a few simple questions:
Q. How many politicians does it take to paint lanes on a road?
A. None, they're all sitting at their desks encircled by double solid white lines.
Q. Why won't their aides and agencies come to the road users rescue?
A. Because none of the traffic lights along their route are working and the private companies are too tied up in red tape to come out and direct the traffic.
Q. Why can't city council, roads department employees do their jobs effectively?
A. All their cars are stuck in potholes - which used to be repaired by the private sector.
Last one - we all know the saying the wheel is turning but the hamster is long gone?
Well, the South African version would be, "the blue lights are flashing but no-one is in the car!"