By Bianca Silva
Apparently life is short but because I’m still alive and, for the next couple of days, still a teenager (and those years felt long), I’m going to hold my comment and focus on something undeniably short and no, it’s not Tom Cruise. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is actually important. It’s our resources. While the struggle for political power in South Africa is anything but short-lived, the consistency of our electrical power is so bleak it could easily fall in line with the infant mortality rate at Frere Hospital. As much as I dislike people who blame the government for everything, this really is the government’s fault. So, maybe it’s time we stop blaming Eskom and start thinking of alternatives. Thabo Mbeki has admitted that Eskom has been saying for almost 10 years now that they would not be able to electrically support the development that the government envisioned on the electrical infrastructure we have now. The government ignored them and, well, you can see what we have today, although only until 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays don’t bother getting out of bed until 8am. However, I haven’t seen much “load shedding” at all so I’m going to move on. Last year we experienced milk shortages, this year all sushi lovers were desperately disappointed at the sudden tuna shortage but far more important are the imminent water shortages. Living without power is do-able and, in comparison, easy. Every year I have been here a pipe has burst in Grahamstown leaving us without water for a few days. But it appears that if we don’t do something we are going to have a lot more than a few days to think about how precious water is to us. South Africans are lucky as we have drinkable tap water despite rumours of a high faeces content. Experts are dismissing concerns about the safety of our water as alarmist but the fact of the matter is that people are worried. On Sunday, Independent Online reported that after this year’s Dusi Canoe Marathon participants were adversely affected from ingesting E. coli infested water from the Tugela River. Radioactive pollutants in the Wonderfontein Spruit have got farmers worrying about their livestock’s drinking supply and, of course, hearing about thousands of fish dying in the Vaal River sends alarm bells ringing. My deputy editor’s younger brother was recently upset about the load-shedding, imminent water shortages and bad cellphone signal, so much so that he felt air rations were next. Ironically it seems that it was an accurate prediction. Fizzy drink lovers, I have bad news for you. At Pick ‘n Pay yesterday I was caught buying my sin, Coke Light, and to me and my digsmate’s shock there was an A4 piece of paper declaring CO2 shortages in the industry. It’s almost funny. The purpose of this column was not to rant, but rather with so much happening on the news front in terms of resignations, rape, the Super 14 and American elections, it’s always nice to remember the things we take for granted, especially if we may not be able to continue taking them for granted for much longer.