Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The South African Enclosure Movement

Just looking at the past 20 years.

I don't get it. I have so many neighbours who are not white. I work with so many people who are not white. Many of my closest friends are not white. There are whites living in townships. There are poor whites. This story doesn't sound any different to most other big cities around the world. Not that it makes it any better; it's just as bad. We just need perspective and perhaps The Guardian has forgotten about the elite in the UK and how it also (unfortunately) manipulates the system.

I do know is that many of these disadvantaged people now get many advantages that I am happy to pay towards, even though I myself am not entitled to them, except for the fact that about half of my payment is going to the new elite, the regime.

And I know many people who have positively used the education system to get somewhere, even people who started in townships, who made good.

Nelson Mandela himself became a lawyer in the Apartheid system and somehow people who benefited from the old system are forgotten. There has always been good and bad.

We need to try hard to focus on the good, especially the good of the past 20 years.

A 20 year old child has finally left teenage years and is starting life as an adult with adult responsibilities. South Africa is now at this stage ...

Some of the advantages that the "forgotten people" referred to in the article, get, are: free or almost free: housing, education (I can't help it that people sell these houses and then move back into shacks, but as the article says, at least they can trade from the shacks, and so there is an amazing black market operating in townships), medicine, hospitals, water, electricity, rates, transport, welfare grants, grants for adults and children, and incredibly the new IRT transport system whilst it has been built through my area to the poor areas around me, has had its number of busses serving my area reduced and some of my friends who were catching the bus are now driving to work. Incredible that these taxpayers are paying for the bus service, but again are not able to make use of it.

It all sounds like the Enclosure Movement which started in Britain and was part of the Industrial Revolution. http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=Why_some_social_groups_benefited_more_than_ot And this has recently happened in Bangladesh where "poor" people who had all the food, housing, etc, they could ever need, have now been impoverished by the Tiger Prawn industry and now these "poor" people really are poor. They have nothing, not even ownership of their land.

Sounds pretty much like the way the whole world is, its just that in South Africa it was done under a name which separated blacks and whites, whereas in other countries it was done based on a separation between elite and other groups, who became poorer because of it, but even though they are poor, they still have things that the rich didn't have 200 years ago: separate bedrooms; hot water; sewerage; education; and much else.

Poor in the 21st Century is so different to in any other century. Yes it is bad, and we can still work towards making it better, really the only way to make poor people rich is to remove "enclosures", level the playing fields, allow everyone to compete in an even environment. And a way to kick-start this is with Renewable Energy, which naturally forces decentralisation, but that is against the current legal framework in South Africa, which moves more and more towards centralisation, but in the ANC and in the DA. Decision making which was by committee is now by minister, opening the way for even more discretion, and therefore even more corruption.

Well that's how it is. I still love living in Cape Town and I will work towards making it a better place. And I know that one thing that South Africa will always have, which is buried at the moment, is the Defiance Campaign, and I pray that soon, this will come to light again, in the way that Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela would like, peacefully, but with intent.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Happy New Year 2015: Tequila Christmas Cake Recipe

Dear all

I pray that everyone has the most incredible Festive Season and New Year 2015. I made a new year resolution this year "to find the good in everything that happens". Sometimes, e.g. when people have died, or when I've made a mistake, it isn't easy to do this (and one needs to meditate on it for days or weeks or months), but it has completely changed my life. I intend starting 2015 with the same resolution.

In the meantime, just a reminder about the Tequila Christmas Cake. Enjoy.

Love,
David

----

Just a reminder

Tequila Christmas Cake

Ingredients: 1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
Nuts
1 bottle tequila
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the tequila to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the tequila again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup... just in case. Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the lequita to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the tequila and wipe counter with the cat.

CHERRY MISTMAS!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

My Power Station - Embedded Generation

Dear all

Many people have disbelieved my writings over the past few years. Well here's one of the word's biggest energy companies, Alstom, saying the same thing!


I've been writing about Embedded Micro-grids for some time and renamed my company My Power Station a few years ago. Here is an example of a recent article that appeared in our local Cape Times newspaper in Cape Town: http://mypowerstation-sa.blogspot.com/2014/12/delivery-of-power-solution-needed-but.html

Regards
David

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Become a Power Station!

7,843 people have signed a petition to stop poaching.

Only 226 people have signed a petition asking the South African government to Level the playing fields in the electricity sector. This will decrease our cost whilst improving our economy.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/South_African_Government_Level_the_Playing_fields_in_the_Electricity_Industry/?miJGmbb

If we have enough electricity, we'll have enough jobs, and people won't need to poach!!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Load Shedding and Power Failures Effecting You? Please sign this petition

To my friends:

I just signed this petition -- please will you join me?

South African Government: Level the Playing fields in the Electricity Industry:

To: South African Government

The petition is really important and could use our help. Click here to find out more and sign:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/South_African_Government_Level_the_Playing_fields_in_the_Electricity_Industry/?miJGmbb

Thanks so much,
David

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Freedom vs Slavery: A 5775 New Year Message

Happy new year to everyone: Freedom vs Slavery and Books I am reading:

Read the PS section if you don't have time to read the whole thing.

The Zero Marginal Cost Society

I am so enjoying this book. Not finished reading it yet, but I can't put it down. It is one of those books that you need to read whilst reading other books as there is so much to ponder and think about whilst reading it that one can't read more than a few pages at a time.

Jeremy Rifkin shows how the world is changing and why and the similarities between the previous paradigm shift economic revolutions that have happened in history.

A fascinating read of how the internet age and the age of "water and wind, and now solar power" and the age of "digital printing" and the age of "prosumers" (people who produce and consume their own goods) is changing our way of life and especially our cost of living both for ourselves financially and on our endangered planet.

The hypothesis of the book is that when Capitalism is 100% successful, because Marginal Costs of goods and services are driven towards zero, capitalism isn't capitalism anymore; it is the "Global Commons", what Thomas Freedman called the "Flat" world in his excellent book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded." Everyone everywhere has an opportunity to compete on a Level Playing Field and by doing so the costs of living are driven to zero.

The people providing this new infrastructure, i.e. the Googles, Facebooks, LinkedIns, Cloud companies, companies like Microsoft, Oracle and Tesla, and for the first time the homeowners making their own electricity and supplying themselves and the grid, are the ones that are becoming rich in this new age. They are the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, who brought oil and railroads to the world in the 19th Century, of the modern Internet Age.

One can already see this with many things, for example free international calls, free internet access, 3D printers giving people the ability to print the things they need at home, shopping apps giving people the ability to buy what they need without shopping, and what I just read about this morning, car ownership patterns changing and car sharing, where Access is more important than Ownership.

PS: For me, Access is Freedom; Ownership is Slavery. The people who have been fighting slavery for centuries are the heroes. The slave traders and the people who treat their inhabitants like slaves are the ones desperately trying to hold onto the status quo and disrupting the freedom loving countries. Who will win remains to be seen.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Are you wearing the "right" clothes?

Are you wearing the "right" clothes is a synonym for "Are you thinking the 'right' thoughts"?

Just a reminder that we need to keep our FREEDOMS. The people who have brought freedom to the world are under attack like never before: Jews, Tibetans, Native Americans, and other minority peace loving people, who don't fit into the status quo. Most people don't realise how valuable their freedoms are until they are gone.

In this internet age, we must use our freedoms to get rid of myths, to support our friends, to get rid of ignorance and to bring our sleeping subconscious friends and acquaintances and Facebook friends out of their dreamlands into reality.

Our parents and grandparents fought in the Second World War for our freedoms. It is imperative that we maintain the freedoms that we have today, especially the freedoms of speech, of association, of religion, of gender choices, of movement, and that we uphold that great maxim of the French Revolution, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

From: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Martin_Niem%C3%B6ller (Martin Niemöller)

"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

"When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

"When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

"When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

"When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."

And now one can replace this with:
"When ISIS came for the ..."

And now we have a faction of Islam, killing Jews, Christians, other Muslims, and anyone they don't like, raping women, stealing property, and this is spreading all over the Middle East and into countries like France, England and others.

We MUST maintain our freedoms. We must remember that freedom is NOT automatic. Our ancestors fought injustices to get rid of the feudal system. Many current people, including myself, are fighting (using words and debate) the Centralisation Capitalist and Communistic systems that tend to put power into the hands of a small elite set of people or businesses. I'm not against Capitalism per say, and I believe that there should be a level playing field where everyone can compete equally. The internet gives us this playing field for the first time in history.

For the first time in history, everyone in the world who has internet access has access to a level playing field where we can enjoy each other's company and work towards a truly "Flat" world where everyone is everyone else's brother and where our cost of living in terms of money and on our environment is driven to zero, i.e. when we collectively, in community, make our own electricity, our own water, our own food, our own clothes, have a roof over our heads and our transport is taken care of with group car and vehicle sharing systems, then we are finally "retired".

We are RETIRED when our cost of living approaches zero, when we have deflation instead of inflation, where our money in the bank is worth more every day and not less, and when that happens, we will be saved and the messianic age will be here.

But to get there we need to remain free. And to remain free, we need to speak out when there is injustice, when our brothers and sisters and friends are being attacked because of their colour, race, religion, gender, because they are women, or because they don't wear the "right" clothes.

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

The holocaust can happen again. And next time it might be you.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Easy or Difficult. What choice do we make?

Easy or difficult?

The #choice is in each of us. Separately and together.

Easy:

Anger.
Pride.
Jealousy.
Envy.
Hatred.
Unethical.
Corruption.
Stealing.
Back-stabbing.
Killing.
Adultery.
Rape.
Pollution.
Environmental Destruction.
Pollution of the Soul.
Taking.
War.
Drug abuse.
Alcohol abuse.
Easy.
Cursed.
Propaganda.
Speeding.
Mindless pursuits, like excessive TV watching!!
Profanity. Profane.
Death.

Difficult:

Kindness.
Generosity.
Love.
Friendliness.
Honesty.
Ethical / Ethics.
Cleanliness.
Giving.
Receiving.
Peace.
Charity.
Giving someone the benefit of the doubt.
Listening.
Silence.
Difficult.
Blessed.
Thinking.
Taking the time to spend time with yourself.
Taking the time to spend time with your loved ones.
Mind Training.
"Right" Conduct.
Forbearance.
Meditation.
Dedication.
Wisdom.
Truth.
Purity.
Sacred.
Freedom of Speech.
Life.

Difficult or easy?

We each have this #choice. This is the #choice that God has given us. This is the path to our Buddha nature. Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. Every week. Every month. Every year. Every decade. Every score (20 years). Every century. Every millennium. In every time. In every life. In everyone's life.

In Hebrew the first two letters of the word for Curse (KLaLa) are KaL Kal is easy. It's easy to be unkind. Its difficult to be kind. Its easy to destroy the environment. its difficult to replenish the environment.

Easy or difficult. We each have this choice. We each have this right and this obligation.

What will we choose?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Wars: why pick on Gaza?

I've been trying hard not to say anything about Gaza, and to focus on the things that I actually know about, e.g. Computer Programming and South Africa's Electricity Crisis, but someone just compared the current Power and Water outage in Utrecht, Natal with Gaza. He said: "Imagine what its like in Gaza".

And I replied:

What exactly has Gaza got to do with Utrecht? Especially when 1000's of trucks have taken aid and supplies into Gaza through the Israeli border crossing? Especially when 1000's of tons of concrete was supplied by Israel and was used to build tunnels instead of schools?

Or perhaps you meant to add:

Imagine what its like in Israel with thousands of rockets raining down on you? Imagine what its like to have to live within 15 seconds of a Bomb Shelter? Imagine what its like with people jumping out of tunnels highjacking your children?

Maybe you meant to add:

Imagine what its like in Iraq with people killing Yazidis and Christians?

Imagine what its like in Sudan?

Imagine what its like in Zimbabwe which in some parts only has an hour or two of electricity per day? And a lot of Africa is like this! But no one says anything.

Imagine what its like in 50 other hotspots in the world?

I really don't mind you picking on Gaza. I just mind that you leave everything else out!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ladies: Benefits of Immigration to the Middle East



Ladies: time to immigrate to Saudi Arabia, Afganistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc?.

The benefits:
1) Only men at the women's conferences;
2) You have to stay at home, so no need for money to travel, etc;
3) No bikinis, etc, hence massive savings on looking beautiful;
4) Easy clothes shopping: you can only wear black and you have to be covered from head to foot;
5) No make up required: no-one can see it;
6) No hairdos, in fact no hair: no-one can see it, think of the savings in hair products and haircuts;
7) You can't drive: think of the savings in car bills and petrol and maintenance costs. Your husband has to take the kids to school;
8) No choice of religion: this makes it so easy for you to choose which religion you want;
9) If you want to go out, a male relative has to accompany you, which makes it even easier for you to decide where to have dinner tonight;
10) No freedom of choice; your husband decides everything for you; so this makes your decision making so much easier. You can meditate knowing that you are being taken care of;
11) Making love: don't feel like it tonight? Don't worry, your husband can get up to 4 wives.

Feel better now? Good. This is what we all have to look forward to if the way of life we had in the Dark and Middle Ages wins out over our current way of life.

Hypocrisy

Part of what I truly want is people to be consistent, to not be hypocritical and to not blame others when they have faults they still need to fix.

Here is an article that explains this feeling:

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem Accuse Israel of Genocide


By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

What do Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz know about genocide? Well, apparently enough to know that Israel is committing one in Gaza against the Palestinians and Hamas.

But seeing their public declaration to that effect, I wondered about their immersion in the subject.

What, for example, is their position on Erdogan’s Turkey on why it’s against the law to acknowledge the 1.5 million Armenians slaughtered by the Ottomans during the First World War?

And what of the holocaust? Are Penelope and Javier, who are married, concerned about the repeat of the genocide of the Jews, especially since the Hamas charter explicitly calls for the murder of all Jews wherever they may be found, which is in fact a true call for genocide?

And what of the Cambodians. Have Penelope and Javier studied the killings fields where one third of the Cambodian population was murdered by Pol Pot and the Khmeier Rouge? Have they at least read Samantha Power’s excellent book on genocide, A Problem from Hell, and if so, why have we not heard anything from them on the subject until now?

Where, for example, were Penelope and Javier in April of this year during the twentieth commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide. I of course saw Samantha in Kigali. I knew she would never miss it, even if she were not the American Ambassador to the UN. But Penelope and Javier were absent. Perhaps they were making a movie. Or perhaps they were tanning in Malibu. Regardless, are they familiar with the Interahamwe Hutu militias that macheted the Tutsi to death? Is this the first time they’ve heard the word? Have they ever reached out to President Kagame of Rwanda to ask him what a true genocide looks like, and how to define it?

For that matter, did Penelope and Javier travel to the former Yugoslavia to gain a better understanding of the genocides that took place, there, in Bosnia, Srebrenica, and Kosovo?

In other words, before they parroted the obscene, depraved, repulsive lie that the Jews are committing a genocide of the Palestinians – a charge laid out by arch anti-Semites Roger Waters and Recep Tayipp Erdogan, both of whom compared the Jews to the Nazis – did they bother to even study the Arab-Israeli conflict?

Are they aware that Arab leaders, stretching back to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, and going all the way up to Hamas and Iran in the present day, call for the total annihiliation of the Jewish State of Israel with its six million inhabitants?

If Israel wants a genocide against the Palestinians, then why does it allow 1.5 million Israeli Arab citizens to live with total human rights as citizens of Israel, with more freedom than Arabs anywhere in the Middle East?

If Israel seeks a genocide of the Palestinians, why did it withdraw fully from Gaza in 2005? And why, with Hamas firing rockets at most of Israel’s cities, doesn’t Israel just carpet bomb Gaza? After all, it’s what the British and we Americans did to Germany and Japan when they fired rockets against London and other British cities. Churchill’s response was Hamburg and Dresden, both flattered to the ground. Roosevelt and Truman’s response was Berlin, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, all of which were pulverized.

Indeed, didn’t Penelope and Javier ask themselves why Israel, widely assumed to possess stockpiles of thermonuclear warheads, didn’t just decide to nuke Gaza if they want a genocide?

And whoever heard of a genocidal power that uses text messages, phone calls, leaflets, and other alarms to warn civilians to leave buildings being used by Hamas to fire rockets? Did the Nazis warn the Poles that they were going to bomb Warsaw? Did the Hutu warn the Tutsis they were about to unleash an orgy of killing?

And if it’s the Jews, rather than the Hamas who wants dead Palestinians, then why is Hamas turning Palestinian children into human shields, walking rocket silos, and human bomb bunkers?

No, one must simply conclude that Penelope and Javier are very talented actors and dismal students of history. Yet another Hollywood couple whose talent lies in impersonating characters and who are now trying to impersonate human rights activists and historians.

That’s bad enough. But when accusing Israel specifically of genocide, Penelope and Javier have crossed the line from vacant and hypocritical Hollywood human rights grandstanding into unforgivable anti-Semitism.

And that’s pretty tragic.

Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America’, is the international best-selling author of 29 books, and will shortly publish “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The air we breath

Thought for today:

We all breathe the same air. The air is recycled, through trees, human bodies, animals, everything. We all breathe the same air.

If you kill me because you hate me, even though I have done nothing to deserve this hate (i.e., I haven't killed your mother; I haven't shot your father; I haven't raped your sister; I haven't stoned your daughter; I haven't stolen your house after I declared your people abhorrent so that I could steal your goods; I haven't sworn at you; I haven't said you are evil) and I have been compassionate and I have been loving and I have freely given you goods and land as a "peace-exchange" and I have tried hard to understand and to therefore listen very carefully without any filters and without any judgement to what you have to say; But even after all this you still steal my livelihood and kill me and my people?

Well even if you do this, you will still be breathing the same air that I breathed forever!

So its time for us all to forgive each other and to move forward on this planet in the middle of an infinite universe amongst infinite universes in a multiverse.

I firmly believe that our neighbours out there are peace loving, no matter what Hollywood thinks of them. And I firmly believe that the day there is real peace in the whole world for 1 second at exactly the same time, we will meet our friends, who are out there, just waiting for us to wake up.

May we all discover our Buddha nature, which is buried deep within each of us; within every single one of us, even amongst people who are unconscious in their actions.

May the Infinite One who causes peace to reign in the high heavens let peace descend on all of us, and on all the world, and let us say, Amen.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Sanctifying our RAINBOW nation - forever

Ethnic cleaning of Christians in the Middle East.

http://youtu.be/45_e2OP9ICo

Everyone please be aware of what's brewing. We need to not take sides.

We live in South Africa. Those of us who do.

We have Christian (Catholic, Methodist, Protestant, Orthodox and others) and Muslim (multiple kinds) and Jewish (Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and others) and Tibetan and Buddhist and Zen and Black and White and Brown and Gay and Lesbian and Straight and non-believer and Agnostic and Atheist and men and women and so many other types of friends. We have friends who are leaders and friends who are managers and friends who are generalists and friends who are doctors and friends who are just your day to day kind of person.

We love all of them / us. We have a very special RAINBOW nation and we MUST keep it.

The only way we can keep it is if we have freedom of speech and freedom of association and freedom of religion and freedom to be who we want to be. If we allow some people to control what can and can't be said and what can and can't be worn and who can and can't be prayed to or with, then we are on a road to ruin. It doesn't matter who these people are and what their beliefs are.

South Africa and South Africans are truly special people. Before Islam, one could say that everyone was Hindu or Jewish or Christian or Buddhist or Atheist, etc. Before Christianity one could say that everyone was Hindu or Jewish or Buddhist or Atheist, etc. Before Judaism we were other types of people.

But how can we possibly say that someone who lived before any of these ways of life automatically went straight to hell?

We can't.

Its like saying there was no gravity until Isaac Newton discovered gravity in the 17th Century!

The distance from heaven to hell is very very very small. It is a state of mind! The more ignorant and the more one sided and the more intolerant we are, the bigger the distance from heaven to hell or from hell to heaven.

In this 21st Century with its internet we have an opportunity to find good in things and good in each other and good in our RAINBOW nation.

Please everyone. Lets VALUE what our forefathers Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo and FW de Klerk and Helen Suzman and so many others have done for our corner of the world, a corner we call South Africa. They are and were heros. Each and every single one of us separately and together can also be heros. We just have to sanctify our RAINBOW nation.

And if and when we do this, everyone will want to join us and share in the beauty of our part of the world. A tiny world in a huge cosmos. A world where we should love and share, not take and blame.

My friends. Please lets remain friends. Lets not be strangers. Lets be better friends. Lets learn about each other and respect each other and help each other and be compassionate to each other. Now and forever.

Love,
David

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Stay on Facebook or leave? My thoughts on the 22nd July 2014

I thought of leaving Facebook because of all the vitriol I am reading. But there is so much good about Facebook.

If you take sides in any of the conflicts without considering the other side's view and without going to the countries concerned to find out for yourselves what is going on, then please unfriend me.

If someone came up to you and said you have 3 choices: change to my religion; pay me 5 ounces of gold; or die; you might say that there is no freedom anymore.

If you want freedom, you need to be free inside your self.

We need societies with Freedom of Speech, with Freedom of Association, with Freedom of Religion, or the choice not to have a religion, with Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

One of my friends said that non-believers must pay a tax to stay alive. I said that would be like people who don't believe in e-tolls and who don't pay the e-tolls being told that they will be shot.

Come on people. Please don't be ignorant. Please speak and ask and discuss and spend as much time understanding as you do attacking.

99.999% of each of us is exactly the same, but we constantly put that tiny 0.001% in front. That tiny difference caused by the way we think. We should be able to think differently, but we shouldn't have to think that if we think differently that people will hate us or love us, or look down on us or look up to us.

I pray that we will find compassion in our hearts to love the "stranger", to love the "other". The word "stranger" is one of the most widely used words in the Old Testament. And that is for a reason. We must take the time to understand the stranger. And in many cases the stranger is someone sitting at our Dining Room Table!!

I have unfriended two people today who I know mainly on Facebook. They are both people who have an incredibly good track record of looking beyond the hearsay that they hear, and finding the truth behind what is happening, but both of them have taken sides without considering the "other". And I don't care which side you take!

And I have stayed connected to the "other" to a friend who is prepared to listen, even though she has a view. And this leaves a door open for two strangers to get to know each other.

In 1982 at the age of 17, there were 3 people in my residence in Stellenbosch who wanted to convert me. I came up with a very wise saying: "Whatever happens in our discussion tonight, we will remain friends exactly where we are now at the beginning of our discussion." And this saying has served me in good stead of have discussions about race, religion, gender, politics, and all sorts of things that might have ended badly, but for the fact that our discussion didn't change our relation as it was at the beginning of each of these discussions.

So I care that you take the side of compassion, of truth, of generosity, right conduct, forbearance, dedication, meditation and wisdom and that you get rid of intolerance, ignorance, jealousy, hatred, greed, etc.

If your heart is filled with blame and with a lack of taking responsibility for your own place, then please open your hearts to the possibility that it can be filled with love and compassion for yourself, for your soul, and that should you find yourself in this frame of mind that you will find others to help you remove the blame that you have. Blame is the oldest emotion we have. It started in the Garden of Eden. Just as it starts in all of our gardens.

So again please everyone. Let us try to understand each other, and lets not be strangers.

Friday, 18 July 2014

South African Inflation

Inflation:

South African Reserve Bank raises interest rates half a percent in the past year to 5.75%. That's a 9.5% increase in interest!

Perhaps someone can explain something to me? As more and more of the economy is in the hands of government and as our taxes rocket, for example via electricity, water, rates, fuel, e-tolls, carbon taxes and many more new taxes in the pipeline, and the government mismanages large scale projects like the Eskom build which has cost the taxpayer at least R100 billion extra already, and whilst private expenditure is already on the way down and car sales are down, and the government is taking parts of existing land and business for itself, and people have less money to spend on more expensive food, how then can the government increase interest rates, when it is the government which is the cause of most of our inflation?

I guess that government needs even more tax and a way to get it is to raise interest rates which banks have to pay to government?

The Chinese example of removing excess from an economy is to raise the bank's reserve margin. In my opinion, this is a much better way to manage inflation, as it doesn't effect existing borrowers.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Why is the gap between rich and poor incomes (Gini Coefficient) so big in South Africa?

Gill Marcus, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank blames employers for the strikes in various industries:

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/rand-weakens-after-marcus-comments-2014-06-10

My comments:

Marcus blaming employers? Perhaps they are at fault, but without them, there wouldn't be any employees!

Unless the government wants to employ everyone, as seems to be the case. And in Communism, the only way to finance this is by asset stripping (causing massive environmental destruction), essentially by dramatically increased mining exports (which are dwindling) and fracking, which won't happen if workers would rather have handouts and grants than actual self-fulfilling work.

In the meantime "new Mineral Resources Minister Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi exits the platinum sector wage talks",  http://www.miningweekly.com/article/mining-minister-bows-out-of-talks-platinum-producers-mull-options-2014-06-10 , saying that the task team established by government on May 28 and comprised representatives from the departments of Mineral Resources, Labour and National Treasury, and Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and AMCU, and dissolved less than 2 weeks later, hadn't worked and employers and employees must sort out their own differences. What a paradox!

So much for government employing everyone, and government task teams actually helping out. Isn't it amazing that South Africa blames Israel and the Arabs (since 1967, the Palestinians) for not being able to sort out 3,500 years of historical problems, but this same South African government cannot sort out 5 months of labour strikes in the Platinum Industry?

In South Africa, as elsewhere, it is actually up to employers and employees to resolve their differences. If this strike continues then as in other industries, users of platinum will find alternative ingredients for achieving their products and the platinum mines in South Africa and elsewhere will close. This isn't so far fetched. It happened with Vanilla in Madagascar which increased 10 times in price from 1993 to 2003 (http://www.irinnews.org/report/46230/madagascar-feature-downside-to-rising-vanilla-prices) and then the users of Vanilla found a chemical alternative and the price plummeted.

IMHO, it is time for workers on mines and other industries in South Africa to start up-skilling themselves and their children. The mines have built more than enough schools, clinics, etc, in the mining areas. Many of these are unused or vandalised. I believe this is the critical problem. Unskilled workers don't understand the value of education and believe their problems can be solved with government grants.

The reason South Africa has such a big wage gap (Gini coefficient) between rich and poor is because of the huge lack of skills in the South African workforce. Until this problem is resolved by the workforce's children wanting to do better than their parents and becoming educated and having an environment themselves that allows them to set up SMME's and employ other people, the Gini coefficient will continue to worsen.

And then back to my hobby horse. I still believe that the biggest culprit in our lacklustre growth is lack of electricity. And the world bank agrees with me: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/bank-cites-labour-tensions-as-it-again-cuts-sas-growth-outlook-2014-06-11/rep_id:3182

More at http://mypowerstation-sa.blogspot.com/2013/09/south-african-strikes-and-electricity.html "South African Strikes and the Electricity Crisis".

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

South Africans : Please vote on 7th May 2014

South Africans: Please vote tomorrow.

If you don't vote, you have no say in this country. You cannot complain. You voted for the winner!

If 10 people vote and 4 people vote for party A and 3 people vote for party B, then party A wins with 57% of the vote! But not 57% of the possible voters. If 2 people who hadn't voted had voted for party B, party B would have won with 55% of the vote.

Please vote on the 7th May 2014. It is your duty as a voter to not be apathetic on this particular day and to CHOOSE. None of the parties is perfect. They all have good points and bad points. Choose the one that you think will help to make South Africa more democratic, and less lopsided. Lopsided ships sink.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Prepare for tomorrow. Know what's going to happen in your lives. Take control.

No electricity for several hours or longer could lead to no water (water is pumped using electricity) and no petrol and diesel (petrol and diesel are pumped using electricity and are made using electricity). This will lead to hunger. Then violence. Isn't it about time that people took responsibility for their own electricity, water, food, sewerage provision, just like our grandparents used to do?

My grandmother lived in Bantry Bay when it wasn't so expensive as today. She collected rain water. She had a septic tank and French drain for sewerage. She had hardly any waste because nappies and all that kind of stuff was recycled. And she had hardly any plugs in the house. Things got done. Cheaply. And she had time for holidays and all that kind of thing.

Then along came the government and said they could do all these things for her cheaper. And they did for about 40 years, and then once they had us all by the short and curlies, the government became a business, the biggest of them all, and they started dramatically raising prices. And because they are the government, Competition Law doesn't apply to them. eg: in the City of Cape Town, we have the Bus Rapid Transit, but taxis and private bus companies can't compete along these routes, never mind that the government took 1/3rd of the road space for themselves, and supposedly has the fastest routes. Isn't this enough? eg: Eskom, and no competitors, even though before Eskom there were many producers of electricity in South Africa, ie, until the 1920's. We have just forgotten these facts. eg Toll Roads. Many other examples of Big Government just being Monopolistic.

But 40 years in the desert is a long time and we have forgotten that we used to make things ourselves. We were depended on ourselves and our neighbours. We shared.

We need to do this again.

My theme for this year is Trust and Sharing. Lets Trust and Share with each other so that we can predict the future, ie tomorrow and the next day. With our own electricity, water, food, production, and our own waste treatment plants. 99.94% of sewerage is water. And there is methane as well for cooking. Not difficult. Just requires people to think. A little bit.

And to stop blaming others, a centuries old occupation, and to take responsibility for themselves.

PS: We have local South African technologies and experts which can and who can solve all our problems. We just need to trust and share.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Living in a world that blames other people - Scapegoats - History - Taking Responsibility

Yesterday an 8 year old domestic servant's child died in a friend of a friend's pool. She couldn't swim. Only the domestic servant and her child were in the house. Who is responsible for this accident? The pool? The child? The mother? The owners of the house? The Government? Legislation? Who?

As far as we know, the domestic worker is blaming the home owner, but even if the pool had a fence, the child would have been tall enough to open the special hook on the gate.

We have a swimming pool. Our pool is surrounded by walls. When we have guests we ensure that someone is watching the pool at all times. Or we keep the house gates locked and we keep everyone inside. As it is our house gates are locked most of the time, so no one can get to our pool unless they climb over a wall.

We don't have a net. And even if we did, the child could get tangled in it and still drown, whilst the parent fumbles around trying to untangle the kid from the net. So much easier to just dive in and save the child. Unless you have a "hard net". Or a pool fence. Or a set of doors that lead to the pool that are locked.

The day a child almost died in our pool is a memory. We had about 30 friends for a braai one day, with adults and children all over the place. A small child had somehow experienced difficulties, and another child saved him! I wasn't watching because I was braaing. My wife wasn't watching. We assumed that the parents, who were standing next to the pool eating, were watching. But for the split seconds it takes for someone to drown, another child was there to save the child.

We need to all be careful around water. BLAME is the name of the game in our world. It is always someone else's fault, the government, our friends, our parents, someone of a particular religious persuasion, whoever. Time for us all to take responsibility for our actions!! And then Cape Town, South Africa, Africa, and the world will be a so much better place.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The South African Flood

South Africa has a number of problems, which are starting to flood and overwhelm the tax payer. President Zuma, in his state of the nation address proudly said that there are 15 million employed people and 16 million people getting grants. Some people say a family needs R30,000 per month just to survive. Perhaps because 70% of our taxes, ie rates, taxes, electricity, water, transport, etc, prices are going to grants, and funding such as free electricity, free rates, free transport, free housing, etc. Under this regime, people get a free house and then say its to small!! If only jobs could be created, South Africans would be so much better off and we would all feel much better off. But how to stop this flood?

1) Eskom can only supply about 30% of South Africa's current electricity demand. So many companies have to move elsewhere to get electricity. Hence the reason why our top 40 companies are doing so well, but the SA economy is doing so badly. Almost all the top 40 are slowly moving operations off shore to get electricity and other benefits.

2) We have an incredibly stringent labour regime, which inhibits employing people. With close to 40% unemployment you would think that SMME's would be able to hire and fire people just like in the USA! But we can't so we don't employ. Also the unions protect employed people whilst doing Nothing for unemployed people. Unfortunately the unemployed people don't see this.

3) We have incredibly high electricity, water, rates, transport and other input costs or overhead costs. Our prices are already higher than in China, India and Texas!! Hence companies are moving their operations to places that are cheaper.

4) 20 years into our "democracy" or perhaps we should call it One Party State, we have to employ people in a BEE regime. BEE was historically used to redress the wrongs caused by minorities not being employed. But here they are used to employ the majority. And in many cases where these people aren't fit for the jobs. Hence the huge spending on consultants.

5) The school system has been changed several times since 1994, and each time standards have been lowered. Have you heard my "joke": Why do we have grades now? Because there are no standards!

6) Having said all this, we still live in the most beautiful place on earth, with an abundance of natural resources including wind, sun, water, wave, sea, minerals, people, etc. If only we could get our act together and make use of all this stuff locally, rather than exporting everything and then wondering why we have to import finished goods and food.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Saving for a rainy day

We put money away for a rainy day.

We have insurance to cover us if something gets stolen or if our house burns down or if our property is damaged.

We have pension plans.

So from these things that we do, we can see that we think about the future and we prepare for it.

However, we are really only between 2 and 4 days away from catastrophe at any time! So why are we planning for events in perhaps 30 years time, but not being prepared for events tomorrow?

So what can possibly go wrong in the next few days which should concern us?

Our electricity supply is becoming more and more precarious. Eskom should be able to supply 42 GW of electricity but on a regular basis it can only supply only around 30 GW. The grid infrastructure is overloaded which puts a large burden on transformers which are reaching end of life in half of their usual life, ie 12 years life instead of 25 years life.

Our grid itself is behind with maintenance and many of our power stations are already beyond end of life and are being kept running, but who knows when they might break.

Our best coal is exported and we use poor grade coal in our own power stations, and everyone knows what happens to their car engines when they use poor grade oil in them!

And then Eskom have shown for since Koeberg was built in the 1970's that they cannot manage the build of new power stations which usually take years longer to build and are usually 50 to 100% over budget, yet we continue to allow this.

With all this damage being done to our system, willingly or unwillingly, we are placed in a dilemma.

If our electricity supply is suddenly switched off the following will happen very quickly:
  1. Most people are meat eaters. They won't be able to cook their food, unless they have reserves of braai wood. They will get hungry.
  2. Backup generators will kick in. Many of these only have 16 hours of reserves which is seen as more than sufficient under normal circumstances, e.g. expected power failures of 1 to 4 hours a day.
  3. After 16 hours the Backup generators will stop working.
  4. Petrol pumps won't be able to operate because they rely on electricity. All transport will stop within days. There is only 4 days of food in our supply chain, and without transport, our just-in-time systems will not be able to be replenished. And there won't be transport to get diesel to our backup generators.
  5. Water pumps won't be able to operate because they rely on electricity. So we will be without water very quickly. We won't have drinking water and we won't be able to flush our toilets. And we can survive for 2 weeks without food, but we cannot survive for 2 days without water. How many people have got water backup at their houses and businesses?
  6. Within days, fridges and freezes will get hot and food stored in them will be useless.
  7. Within one to four days there will be a complete breakdown in all forms of civil obedience. Hungry, desperate people, who normally aren't violent, will suddenly become violent as they search for food and water.
So should we care? And what solutions are at hand?

Our politicians know these answers, but they aren't telling us. Why?

Renewable Energy isn't only about electricity. It is also about water, about food, and about self sufficiency. So renew your energy and keep yourselves secure.

Security Systems




Note the house in the middle of the water. This guy wanted to actually build the house 2 feet higher than it is and the planners said no! So he said, ok, and he built his own Berm around his property. The neighbours laughed at him until it started raining!

We need to protect ourselves from events that can happen this year, before we concern ourselves about retirement! And if we have systems to supply our own water and electricity and deal with our own sewerage, then we will in effect already be retired for these components of our existence.

What if these bad winter storms and terrible weather in the UK and USA hit South Africa in our coming Winter? It could be much hotter (like in Sochi) and it could be much colder and wetter.

The only way we can protect ourselves is if we decide that local water and electricity backup should be a core component of our security protection systems, just like alarms, gates, insurance, etc.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Who wants to be saved?


In the following video the former Chief Rabbi of England tells us exactly where our problem is: http://www.torahcafe.com/chief-rabbi-lord-jonathan-sacks/covenant-conversation-parshat-terumah-video_b714c0618.html

i.e. in a very simple sense, we just need to work together. I said this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7W6kn9M8pI

So as long as we blame and have expectations that someone else will save us, the current politics will ensue. As soon as we take responsibility for ourselves, we will be saved.

Simple?

Love
David

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The law.

Has anyone read the article in the Tabletalk (or the other free local papers) about the guy who wants to recycle the Turpentine? And he wrote to OffMyTrolley (Brian Joss) to ask what to do and Brian wrote to the City (Water department, etc) and asked what to do.

The City of Cape Town says there is nothing they can do to help because there is no law about Turpentine recycling!!

If we need laws for everything we do, then I think it is time for new leadership.

Doing the right thing should be way above the law! The reason the City wants to develop Princess Vlei and the Philippi Horticultural Area is because they can do this in terms of the law they uphold, but are they doing the right thing? And what about the law for the rest of us? Why are there different "laws"?

So the law is the law, but it doesn't imply ethics and it doesn't imply responsibility and it doesn't imply doing the right thing!

Friday, 31 January 2014

22 kilometers going no-where

22 km going no-where.

Dear all

I just spent an hour in the traffic going no-where.

I was trying to get to Westlake. But Koeberg Road was choc-a-block. So I took my usual detour and that was full. Then I took the detour in the detour and that was full.

The Koeberg Road Intersection at the N1 is bad. So I eventually managed to turn off Koeberg Road into Paarden Eiland so that I could go via town and get onto Eastern Boulevard, but the N1 into town was bad. I eventually turned around and came home.

Interest rates went up this week. I guess people are so mad, that they have forgotten how to drive. Interest rates normally only go up when an economy is over-heating or there is inflation, but ours have just gone up because of foreigners selling Rands. And this is exactly what our politicians have been asking for!! A weak Rand to sustain exports!! But this is at the expense of huge inflationary pressures, because as our Rand depreciates, everything for everyone who isn't an exporter goes up dramatically.

And if interest rates go up, then homeowners are suddenly at risk and may lose their houses (ie can they afford repayments) and far worse, the jobs that they go to are suddenly also at risk as business owners who have borrowed money and put their own houses on the line suddenly have to downsize in order to save themselves. Yes, people, being a business owner, especially a small business owner is not easy.

I am in the process of looking at every one of my expenses at the moment and everything that is not necessary will be removed.

There are alternatives, but they require us poor people to work together. We are only poor because we don't trust each other and because we don't work together. In the meantime the rich get richer because they spend lots of time together having coffee, chatting, playing golf, and working out how to make money and have fun.

See http://repairyourworld.blogspot.com/2014/01/rich-socialists.html

So if you don't need to drive today, stay at home. Think about the future of this incredible country that should be growing as fast as China, but isn't because our leaders are taking money out of all the things that make an economy grow, i.e. high electricity prices, high water prices, high petrol prices, high transport prices, high inflation, high interest rates, etc. Let's grow our economy and let's be great. Lets get rich together and lets have fun doing it.

Love,
David.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

For the oldies amongst us - "The Green Thing" Story

We were so good back in the day!

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because Plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, 
"We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."
The young cashier responded, "That's our problem today - your Generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.” 
She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in its day.  
Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re-used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for rubbish, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.
 This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school), was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have a lift in every
supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and didn't climb into a 300 horsepower machine
 every time we had to go half a mile.
But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's Terry Towel nappies because we didn't have the throwaway kind.
 We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 3 kilowatts – wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Back then, we had one radio or TV in the house - not a TV in every room and the TV
 had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Scotland In the kitchen. We blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their Mums
 into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's £25,000 ‘People Carrier’ which cost the same as a whole house did before the "green thing."
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest Pub!
But isn't it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart arse young person.
We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off...
especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartarse who
can't work out the change without the cash register telling them how much it is!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Rich Socialists

The Rich are Rich because they socialise. The Poor Socialists on the other hand are poor because they don't socialise. How to solve this problem?

Where do the Rich socialise? Davos, World Economic Forum, World Energy Forum, International Trade Organisation, Government, COP, Trade Shows, Conferences, Institute of Directors, Clubs, Associations, Boards of Directors, Golf Clubs, etc. In many cases the DTI and others fund these people to go to conferences. Why, because they are organised. They share. They find ways to work together.

How to get the rest of us to work together to gain true equality. The rest of us are on the Internet. This is our place for sharing. Lets make 2014 the year of Sharing and Trust. See



I look forward to your thoughts.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

David Lipschitz Comments on the Integration Resource Plan (IRP) 2013 Update to the IRP 2010-2030 Plan

Dear Mr Madingoane (at the DOE)

These comments must be in by 7th February 2014. Please see my comments below and also please confirm receipt of this email.

I have the following comments re the IRP 2010-2030 Update 2013:
  1. The extended Transmission network is estimated as being 2.5 times the size it is now. However there are no costings for this upgrade. What is it expected to cost, for each of the 3 scenarios in the IRP? Have agreements been made with landowners re way-leaves (land easements)? What is the environmental impact of these additional cables? What is the visual impact on our beautiful landscape? Who will own this new cable?
  2. The price increase graphs, e.g. on pages 21, 25, etc, show a rapidly increasing price till 2018 (8% per annum and 16% per annum) and then a lowering price till 2023. I believe that these price increases should be smoothed. There isn't any company in the world that can increase prices before service delivery happens, except for government which has done this with Electricity and Water price increases. Why hasn't this been considered? And what effect will this dramatic price increase over the next 5 years have on consumer behaviour and on investment in an already fragile economic recovery?
  3. South Africa's electricity price and petrol price are already higher than those in Texas and other parts of the world. For example on 14th January 2014, the price of petrol in South Africa was R13.20 vs R8.47 in Texas, a 56% difference. Homeowner and SMME electricity prices are already 50% higher in Cape Town as compared with Austin. Texas, known as the Oil State, has dramatically improved efficiencies by using all forms of energy generation. Why isn't South Africa considering all forms of energy generation?
  4. Why isn't the South African government and Department of Energy considering using Private People to fund the Energy Development in South Africa by allowing private Utilities, private Power Stations, etc, at no borrowing cost to the fiscus and with the possibility of massive and quick job creation?
  5. Demand: The IRP update says that the Energy Intensity of South Africa is decreasing and hence fewer power stations are required. It also talks about the path of "least regret" in decision making thus deferring power station build for as long as possible. However, there is no analysis of demand in the IRP. I have heard rumours that a South African smelter wants to spend R30 billion in South Africa expanding activities. As far as I know they use 1 GW today and need another 1 GW by 2016, but they are forecasting only 800 MW in 2016. Therefore instead of a 100% increase in electricity, they are forecasting a 20% drop. Not only is South Africa losing out on massive foreign investment in our country, we are also losing out on job creation opportunities by big business which is moving to countries with cheaper, more sustainable and more reliable electricity. Why is there no demand forecast in the IRP? Why haven't the IRP planners considered that perhaps the reason for the drop in Energy Intensity is because there isn't enough electricity already and because companies are already paying a premium to run their own backup power, mainly generators?
  6. In November 2014, Engineering News said that South Africa had 31.5 GW out of a potential 37 GW available, including peaking power stations. South Africa's grid has decreased from 42 GW 20 years ago to 37 GW today and a friend of mine said there was a particular day in November when there was only 28 GW available. How does the IRP help to rapidly create electricity in South Africa, bearing in mind that we need the electricity now, not in 8 to 12 years time? One should note that Table 16 of the IRP update says that there is 42 GW of Eskom generation and 3 GW of other generation and 2.5 GW of Demand Response (DR) Available. In late 2013, DR was made illegal by NERSA. We cannot rely on foreign capacity anymore, as it is being used more and more for local needs in foreign countries. And of the 42 GW of Eskom capacity, only 37 GW is available, due to power stations which are past "end of life" and which the engineers won't let run at capacity. For example, Koeberg's capacity is 1.8 GW, but my understanding is that it only runs at an available capacity of 1.4 GW which is considered to be safe. Why isn't Table 16 considering the real picture?
  7. Demand Response, a critical part of any Energy System, has now been outlawed by NERSA. Why has the DOE allowed NERSA to remove Demand Response from the South African energy system? Has NERSA considered the effect this is having on business? Why isn't demand response being done with homeowners, which would be at no cost to business?
  8. Nuclear: The IRP update says that the Nuclear decision will be delayed for several years, and specifically until after the new Integrated Energy Plan, last completely revised in 2003, is completed. Why, then, have the government just signed an agreement for Nuclear purchases with a Russian Supplier?
  9. Unemployment and Poverty is only mentioned for the first time on page 24 of the IRP plan. There is no consideration of the National Planning Commission's report that South Africa needs 11 million new jobs by 2030 and that the only way to do this is to consistently grow the economy by 5% or more per annum. Why has this been ignored? How can the IRP help South Africa to increase electricity provision quickly so that South Africa can increase its growth from 2% to 5% per annum?
  10. Why isn't the IRP considering the needs of South Africa in terms of its electricity, job creation, economic, and other potential?
  11. Why does the IRP focus on job creation inside the energy sector, rather than focussing on job creation because of the energy sector? This is the same problem I have with the Western Cape's Green Cape Initiative, which focusses on jobs inside the Green Economy, rather than focussing on jobs because of the green economy. The most jobs South Africa can create in the green economy is about 200,000 permanent jobs. In the meantime, 11 million other people have to remain unemployed until these 200,000 people are employed. Why does this make sense?
  12. The IRP says that even with "Big Gas" and with up to 63 GW of power generation from gas plants by 2029, South Africa will still experience peak demand problems! Why is South Africa intent on building more large scale power stations instead of piping gas to households thus getting rid of the peak demand problem for good?
  13. Why does the IRP consider "learning", i.e. price decreases in renewable energy, which have dropped 90% over the past 2 decades and not consider "learning" in nuclear and coal energy? When Koeberg build started in 1974, its cost was estimated at R500 million. Its final build cost was R1.75 billion, in 1978, and even taking inflation of R250 million into account, its cost was still 233% over budget. The latest Nuclear build has been costed at between R400 million and R1.4 trillion and in November 2013, the government said it will cost R1 trillion. Considering the lateness of Kusile and Medupi coal power stations, the inability to get the boiler welding right, software problems, moving materials around such big power stations, and other problems, why is it that 36 years after Koeberg, our Nuclear and Coal costs are still spiralling out of control, even with massive government subsidies and especially insurance and underwriting subsidies which aren't available to newer energies?
  14. Why are the nuclear power stations being built at the coast when most of the electricity is needed inland? And why is the government intent on building new transmission infrastructure at taxpayers expense when it isn't prepared to pay to connect the new Alternative Energy producers to the grid, at taxpayers expense, as happens in other parts of the world?
  15. Why does South Africa continue with its centralisation approach to energy when 21st Century technology clearly shows that a decentralised grid is cheaper and more efficient, to build and to maintain?
  16. Why does the IRP consider base load as being only available from coal, nuclear and gas, when we know that recently 1/3rd of the current grid's existing capacity is unavailable for various reasons? One could therefore argue that Nuclear, Coal and Gas are only available 66% of the time. As it is, Eskom's own statistics show that its "base load" power stations are available less than 80% of the time against a world norm of over 85%. What is the DOE's definition of "Base Load"? What isn't the DOE ensuring that Eskom keeps up its standards?
  17. Eskom was founded in 1923, when about 60 private electricity producers where combined into a single monopoly, in order to save costs. Eskom therefore has a 91 year head start with information gathering, costing, transmission and distribution, yet it still wants State protection and still wants its monopoly power at the expense of an economy which needs another 11 million permanent jobs by 2030. Why aren't the strategies and policies in the 1998 White Paper on Energy and the 2003 White Paper on Renewable Energy, which call for 30% of generation and transmission to be in private ownership by 2010, in place? Why does Eskom continue to need to be protected, even with its incredible resources, and its inherent and historical ability to provide the world's cheapest source of electricity?
  18. Why do the Energy Plans continue to use PJ (Petajoules) when the Active Citizens, Voters, and "the man in the street" understand kW, MW and GW? I believe that government's documents should reflect the common and modern usages rather than some ancient and archaic way of measuring things, that the general population don't understand.
  19. The IRP says that South Africa's CO2 emissions can be reduced by building new power stations in Botswana and other countries. Is this ethical?
  20. Why isn't regional integration looked at more closely? Electricity from the DRC's Inga project is considered, but that is still at least 10 years away and there will be huge transmission losses, perhaps as much as 50% of the electricity lost as heat over thousands of kilometres. Why isn't a strategy being considered that looks at massive renewable energy developments in Namibia, especially Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) with Storage, and with massive "batteries" in Lesotho, in the form of Pumped Storage, which is estimated at up to 7 GW of power?
  21. I have heard that the new transmission infrastructure from Kusile and Medupi haven't been built yet? Please confirm if this is true and if so how, then, once Kusile and Medupi come online, how will their electricity be dispatched?
  22. I have heard that the Coal Gas Flue Desulphurisation plants at Kusile and Medupi haven't been installed, yet these were critical components in their EIA's and the reason for building these new "clean coal"power stations. What is the DOE doing to correct and enforce these requirements?
  23. Has Kriel Power Station been closed at the end of 2013? Although it can continue generating, Eskom were meant to add Gas Flue Desulphurisation to it by the end of 2013 so that it could continue generating. Why is Eskom being allowed to simply ignore its environmental responsibilities, whilst holding South African electricity users to ransom? What are the government, the DOE, the Department of Public Works and other Government Departments doing to ensure Eskom compliance with Environmental Rules? How can government ethically enforce carbon emission taxes on vehicles, charge transport companies and aircraft companies levies for environmental protection, etc, yet not enforce similar behaviour on itself?
My colleagues and I have spent R30 million over the past 6 years getting an understanding of how these questions can be answered. If the government wish it, they can pay for our time and we will show our strategy to solve South Africa's electricity, job creation, sustainability, and other crises, quickly and cleanly.

I look forward to your replies and to continuing to help doing my Active Citizen part to help make South Africa great.

Yours sincerely,
David Lipschitz