An old 'truism' - "one should never urinate into the wind" - entered my odd head shortly after breakfast this morning and lingered, gaining a foothold, as I watched a group of my labourers removing the lid, to expose the 'crust' of a very septic tank in desperate need of draining.
This old truism -can, at times like this be equated with the equal truth that one should never stand down wind of an over filled septic tank - I retreated to the comfort of the stoep on the other side of the house to await the arrival of Piet Poep, the Plumber and Piet Lorries, the Cartage contractor with his Pump-Lorry, who between them would rectify the very smelly situation at hand.
A cup of coffee and this mornings edition of The Mercury provided simple solace as I whiled the time away in expectation of their arrival. The warmth of the sun and the orchestral efforts of birds in the garden were soon hard at work, conspiring in unison, to blur the words on the page before me, and, would have succeeded most admirably were it not for an article on 'water supply' that simply jumped out of the page and assaulted me most grievously in the broad light of this very fine morning!
Visions of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in that great film "The Sting" sprung effortlessly to mind as I arrived on the doorstep of an inevitable conclusion - the good citizens of the Crown Colony of Natal had been stung!
Now,there are a few golden rules that one must follow, Oom Schalk, in order to perpetrate the perfect sting!
Firstly, any deviation from an accepted norm must seem perfectly palatable.
Those initiating the sting must appear to be totally trustworthy, before, during and after the event.
Thirdly, all explanations and actions must be accompanied by solid proof of provenance - and, the final outcome should leave the victim convinced that the perpetrators were in fact, as much the victims, as he or she was!
Let me return to my 'truism' from the first paragraph, in an attempt to demonstrate the perfect sting that the good citizens of the Colony have bought and are still buying - hook, line and sinker!
This is how it went down - how it passed over our lips - avoided our hips - and satisfied our souls like freshly braaied boerewors, with lekker slap chips!
We have been cunningly convinced, over time, into accepting the fact that our beloved country has a growing shortage of water. We are constantly reminded of the need to conserve this precious resource and obediently accept the rising cost of supplying its flow to our taps, baths and toilets - "it is in the national interest", said our learned Authorities !
Simultaneously 'Spring water' conveniently packaged to suit our mobile life style's was launched onto our supermarket shelves and solemnly touted as the elixir that will invigorate our internal organs of life.
Water from a tap has become 'so yesterday',that we happily accept the mountains of non-biodegradable plastic bottles that will populate our future horizon.
Ja - Nee Oom Schalk - Spring water, encased in plastic, infused with the taste of fresh Raspberries and a hint of hand crushed Coriander, gently folded into a medley of Vitamins A, B, C, D and E... for Eina! - is now an integral part of our preconditioned reality, accepted,without so much as a burp from our bottomless bellies!
Now, I can see Oom Schalk shaking his head and wondering where and when the actual 'sting' comes into play - or 'goes down', as they said in the film!
It has already 'gone down', Oom Schalk, along with a few bitter pills, cunningly disguised as sweeteners!
Recently the same "Authorities", introduced a new category of Property Tax here in The Colony. They called it Sewage Rates. They said they needed additional taxes from the Ratepayers to maintain, upgrade and expand the Sewer systems that we need, to dispose of yesterday's breakfast's, today's lunches and tomorrows suppers. Similtaneously an upgrade was carried out on the water supply and sewage removal network via this cunningly disguised sleight of hand!
Without so much as a whimper we acceded and rendered the further tax unto Caesar..!!
Granted, it did leave a lingering bad taste in the mouth... but that was soon washed away with the assistance of large Gin and tonic's at our local street shelters for alcohol ingestion! "Well, I suppose it's cheaper than building new dams", we said, nodding sagely at each other, little realising the future portent of our words!
To be fair, the construction of the Spring Grove Dam, near Rosetta, has been mooted for some considerable time past. It's construction, we had been assured, was in the national interest, as it would provide a secure supply of water to the ever increasing needs of industry, indeed the country - as well as entrench the ability of our local authorities in the Colony to continue to supply a free, minimum quantity, of water to every household.
We blithely accepted that the Government would act in the best interest of the nation.. and, construct the dam with taxes rendered to the National Government Caesar!
The article went on to say - 'the eThekwini Council will no longer supply a free, minimum quantity, of water to every household in the metropolitan area!' All dwellings, in excess of R250,000 in value, will now pay per litre used.' It went on to state that it was further resolved, at a meeting of the Council, that there will be a water tariff increase, per kilolitre consumed, to fund the construction of the Spring Grove Dam!
...and there you have it, Oom Schalk! Twins!... Two Caesar's unto whom we must now render taxes, for the same services! The Perfect Sting... Almost!
This article, that assaulted me most grievously, then provided a clinical 'coup de grace', "the Council is considering methods to purify waste water for the purpose of resupply to consumers...!" I will leave your imagination to stomach the missing piece that creates the sting of pure perfection...
Having tasted the sweet borehole water of the Marico running free, I intend constucting one of my own, whilst remaining rather attached to my septic tank and it's income protection potential!
Standing downwind of my very septic tank, I gaspingly remain,