Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Outspoken Ilana

I really liked this letter published today in a South African newspaper in the Western Cape from a fellow Ilana... I also really like her snazzy "van Rensburg" surname.

Dear Editor,

Today I visited our local municipality and I was shocked to find that the staff were sitting with heaters on in their air-conditioned offices.

When I enquired as to why they were using heaters when the Western Cape is in a power supply crisis, the lady behind the counter responded, "Because it's cold". I proceeded to ask her if she knew we must conserve electricity as there are Eskom campaigns running on the radios and in the newspapers, and she told me that she didn't have a radio

I went on to tell her how expensive it is to run heaters, and she wasn't in the least bit concerned and stated that "the electricity gets paid for, so it's okay".

Should the municipality not be setting the example? I called the municipal manager's office and the manager was not available, but when I explained what was happening to the lady who took the call, she too was not concerned.

Please help me understand this. Eskom has allocated a specific number of kilowatts for consumption and by tonight when I get home and I need to bath my kids, cook the supper and do the homework, there won't be enough electricity, and Eskom will switch it off.

Ilana van Rensburg

I think there is little to no evidence to suggest that anyone is actually attempting to conserve energy in this tide before the storm. Blindingly lit advertisements stay on all night in Sandton and the Northern suburbs don't scrimp on underneath-the-floor heating tiles. South Africans in informal settlements- backyard shacks, illegal inner-city flats, and the like- are the true conseravtionists. Without electricity to begin with, they make do with crumpled-up newspaper, kerosene, dirty blankets, and sheer fortitude.


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