Important Stories You May Have Missed This Month

With news headlines dominated by load-shedding, price hikes, taxes, e-tolls and other unpleasantries, it's been easy to overlook some of the better, more hopeful bits of news this month. From plastic roads to politicians getting their due, here's what you may have missed.
Jason Snyman
2019-03-29

Well, it’s the last weekend of the month. News headlines have been so occupied by Eskom, taxes, price hikes (so many, just take your pick) and the ever-present e-toll fiasco, that we’ve barely had time to look at some of the other stories – which are just as interesting or important.

Without further ado, here are some of the more noteworthy stories you may have missed over the last couple of weeks. Quick and easy.

South Africa’s New Plastic Road

Yes, indeed. The Kouga Municipality has announced that it will trial South Africa’s very first plastic road in last year’s town of the year – Jeffrey’s Bay.

The municipality has entered into a partnership with Scottish company, MacRebur, and top Port Elizabeth-based civil engineering experts, SP Excel and Scribante Construction, to build this road – a 1km stretch of Woltemade Street and Koraal Street.

MacRebur has already tested plastic roads in the UK and other countries, made from materials derived from non-recyclable waste plastic destined for incineration and landfills. For every kilometre of road laid using MacRebur’s specialised products, the equivalent of 684 000 bottles, or 1.8 million plastic bags are utilized – instead of clogging up our oceans and landfills. 

According to Horatio Hendricks, executive mayor of Kouga Municipality, the backlog in road repairs in the region is estimated to be well over R500 million – a problem inherited when taking control of the municipality back in 2016. 

Therefore, the now DA-led Kouga Council has been looking into innovative solutions to overcome this obstacle, and should the proposed trial be successful, it could benefit the entire country. Better roads, less pollution, more job opportunities, and we won’t have to hide our faces in shame when foreign investors visit our pothole-cratered country.  

Work is scheduled to commence toward the end of April, and will be carried out at no cost to the municipality. The respective partners are set to foot the bill. 

Jozi’s Reckless Driving WhatsApp Hotline

Coming to a WhatsApp near you – the City of Johannesburg will launch a new hotline to report reckless driving. The hotline will be operated by the JMPD, and will allow Johannesburg residents to upload video footage, photos and details of any reckless, clueless, inconsiderate and idiotic drivers.

This is said to include any dash-cam or helmet-cam footage of incidents.  

The aim, according to City representatives, is to improve driver behaviour and enhance road safety for all. Whether or not the corrupt JMPD will actually see to any of the complaints is up for debate. 

But hey, if you’d like to give it a shot and report a couple of law-flouting minibus taxis and arrogant BMWs, the hotline number is 081 410 6338, and it will operate 24 hours a day. 

It goes without saying that drivers should not capture videos and photos while busy driving (unless you’ve got a GoPro strapped to your forehead) as this is, in fact, a crime itself. Instead, if able, it is better to pull over to the side of the road and attempt to capture the footage. 

And on that note – we’re still waiting on the strict new drunk driving rules to come into effect, which will see DUI, speeding and negligent driving reclassified as a Schedule 5 offence – on par with murder and rape. 

No More Fancy Cars For SA Politicians (Apparently)

South Africa’s cabinet is one of the most bloated and ineffective in the world, with no less than thirty-five ministers sitting around on the taxpayer’s rand. The US, by contrast, has fifteen ministers. The UK has twenty-one. 

Long overdue, the ANC government plans on revising the current ministerial handbook in an effort to curb wasteful expenditure. 

Minister of Total Pointlessness, Ayanda Dlodlo, stated that under the revised rules, South African ministers will be banned from flying first class, taking their spouses on international trips and splurging on luxury vehicles. 

Shem. Must be hard. No more Porsche. No more Mercedes S-Class. 

Instead, the National Treasury will be tasked with purchasing suitable vehicles for all ministers, deputy ministers, MECs and provincial premiers. 

It’s certainly a start – but since the release of a May 2018 report by the DA, it has become public knowledge that the Department of Public Works has a special division called the Prestige Portfolio, which manages accommodation for the presidency, ministers, deputy ministers and other big-shots. 

The department spent over R188 million on acquiring thirty-three properties in Pretoria and Cape Town. This is an average of R5.7 million per residence. 

So, there’s a very, very long way to go until the rampant looting comes to an end. 

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