Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: political (Page 1 of 20)

Twitler Helen Zille

I have been stewing over Helen Zille’s latest twitter debacle. This is what she had to say about the families of those who died or whose health was severely compromised in the Life Esidimeni tragedy. Zille tweeted on Tuesday: “It is good that the families of the Life Esidimeni victims have received a measure of justice and compensation. I would like an answer to this question: What did they do, before these tragic deaths, to raise the alarm about their loved ones starving + living in profound neglect?”

Now Zille is no stranger to the arrogant, ill informed, rude, racist, anti-poor tweet and has been rapped over the knuckles on more than one occasion. Her biggest tweet scandal (up until now), which she fought to justify in an embarrassingly tenacious fashion, was that not everything to do with colonialism was bad. She just could not see how that would be hurtful and offensive to every single person of colour and their allies.

This time however, she has, in a tweet, highlighted exactly how utterly out of touch she is with how unseen, unheard and helpless the poor are. She imagines a world where everyone has the same ability to shout loudly and demand to speak to the manager. She comes from that world, where she can complain about things and be heard, seen and taken notice of.

Recently I have been to both Groote Schuur and a private medical hospital and the difference is beyond glaring. I am not dissing the utter magnitude of the success of Groote Schuur and all who work there, I am merely comparing the difference money can make. Carpets, new furniture, new equipment, more staff, better equipped nurses, more space, more people to talk to, more attention, more value to life. There are very sick people at Groote Schuur, from all over the country, receiving expert treatment from exhausted, underpaid, over worked practitioners, but the queues at the clinics are long, public transport unreliable, resources scarce. I am in awe at how successful the labyrinthian maze of Groote Schuur is. And that is one, huge, subsidised public hospital.

Helen Zille’s tweet is so completely rude and vile because she has no idea what it is like to be helpless and dependent on what is available. She has no idea what it is like to not be able to keep a sick family member alive if you have no money. She has no idea what a world without insurance or a hospital plan or transport or food looks like. She literally cannot imagine it. An she is in charge of the Western Cape. It makes me sick.

In a Pit Latrine

Every word of that phrase


Not in English or any language

Should those words be allowed to be seen



In a pit latrine should not refer

To anything

Nothing should be in a pit latrine


Menstrual blood should not be

In a pit latrine

The results of a cheap take out meal

Should not be seen

In a pit latrine

Old news should not be

In a pit latrine


Shame should not surround

A pit latrine

Like the lingering smell

Spreading out

And back down

Into deeper shame


A thing should not be in a pit latrine

Slipping out of a hand

Or pocket or sleeve

No thing should be in a pit latrine


A body should not be

In a pit latrine

A body should not be allowed to slip into those words

A body is was a person


If we destroy the words can we destroy the thing?

It should be easy. Like destroying a person.

Cheap cheap it seems.

#DayZero – open letter to the City of Cape Town

Dear City of Cape Town

I am really in a very bad mood with you guys. Truth is, I feel like you are taking the piss, and I don’t think you should be taking anything right now. I am sitting here, sipping my bought water very slowly, trying not to sweat because I can’t shower, and failing to control my temper because I cannot believe your disgusting behaviour.

Without virtue signalling, like madam premier, I have been a dedicated and high performing water saver. We have drastically reduced our water usage, have systems in place to use all grey water and we buy drinking water for humans and pets. I  support and encourage all efforts by our neighbours, friends and even further afield on social media, and I interact and intervene with people in public and work spaces to create further awareness.

Not that it matters, but I was one of the very, very few who was vocal in my support of increased water tariffs based on the value of my property, even though I knew the suggestion was because you guys were caught in a catch 22; asking for people to use less water meant you had created a cash flow problem and were getting less hard cash.

I was active in solving your mistakes when you installed our new water meter and it leaked. I was proactive in getting us back onto the system when you guys couldn’t see what the problem was, even though our meter hadn’t been read for over a year after being installed and our water was estimated.

I am perfectly comfortable with the effort I have made to bring my water usage down to the targets you have set every time they have changed, and I have been living fearfully with the idea of #DayZero as a real possibility.

So, now I feel you guys need to come to the party you forced me to attend.

Let’s start with your hideous, inappropriate mascot. Please explain who signed that off and then who executed it. How did that pass any kind of inspection? Who thought that was cool? Who pays for it? Honestly, I have seen better outfits at charity shops.

Let’s move on to the helicopter banner. Who is paying for the helicopter and banner that flies around our skies with Day Zero, Save Water on it. That’s it. How do you imagine justifying the cost of that? My brain hurts when I think about it. Help me understand how this is an effective part of your awareness campaign.

Finally, I see via the news yesterday that there is a glitch in your new water monitoring system that you have just switched over to and you will be charging us for water based on last year’s usage for the same month. So, last year our water meter was broken, and the reading was an estimation on the year before. Also, we will now not have an accurate (or even general) reading so we can see our usage and our water saving. Plus, water prices have gone up, so we will be paying more for water we haven’t actually used. No. This does not compute.

We need your help here if you want us to play ball. I am sick of your threatening ads warning us about what is going to happen if we don’t do what you say, when you ride roughshod over all our efforts and betray us when it matters. I am shocked that you have made no real inroads in reducing water consumption in the bad suburbs of Constantia, Fresnaye and Camps Bay when my Woodstock is coming in well under target.

Your handling of this drought has left so much to be desired. You have lurched from shouting school headmaster to ‘our-hands-are-tied’ blamers of National government. Now, as I sit here seething at the sound of that helicopter circling for the fourth time over a very water wise suburb, I want you to understand how I feel. I feel like Mrs. Kippie, and you are taking me for one.

The Privilege of Water

I am sitting on the couch with wet hair dripping onto my shoulders after the longest shower to wash sea salt and sand off my body after a vigorous swim in the Indian Ocean.

It’s the final day of a week-long holiday for us. We were invited by my family to join them for a week at timeshare in Umhlanga, and mostly it has been a break from the devastating reality of the drought in Cape Town. We left our animals and house in the care of a house sitter who had to negotiate our makeshift grey water storage in the bathtub for toilet flushing, a courtyard full of plants clinging to life with only dishwater to sustain them and boxes of bought water for human and animal consumption.

We left Cape Town but took the paranoia and panic with us, and it has slowly crept up the scale again today, as we think about our return home tomorrow. Never before have I considered so deeply my privilege. I have had a week of proper escape from my real life. There are working taps on pathways for holidaymakers to wash their sandy feet. There are working fresh water showers on the beach. Our resort towels may be exchanged for fresh ones whenever we want to, and if we leave shower towels on the floor that means we want fresh ones. Drinks are served with tons of ice. Lawns around us are watered. I heard the forgotten sound of sprinklers watering the plants on the promenade.

Whenever anyone finds out that we are from Cape Town they start talking about the drought. Holiday makers from inland (Jozi and Pretoria mainly) tell stories of friends and family who visited Cape Town in December and who were shocked by the severity of the drought. Cape Town’s status as a ‘premier destination’ has taken a huge knock, and the general opinion is that huge events like the cycle tour should be cancelled because of the strain they place on water usage. My Jozi friends are part of water collection drives, and I am moved when I get whatsapp updates about water being sent to animal shelters.

I am turning my head to what I return to tomorrow. I haven’t been online much, but every time I have stuck my nose onto Facebum I have seen friends posting about water fights at Newlands, shelves at shops being empty, hand sanitiser and wet wipes being sold out, and tips for further reducing consumption. I am frightened, and it is the fear of both what we have done, what we have ignored, and how we honestly believed it could never happen.


Noah of Cape Town, A prophecy of Drought

In 2003 Graham Weir and I sat down to turn an idea for a story into a fully fledged, futuristic accapella musical, set in Cape Town in the near future. It took us two years to finish the writing and get something of Noah of Cape Town onto stage. This took the form of a cantata version as part of Artscape’s New Writing Programme. In the cantata in 2005, Noah of Cape Town was set in 2012. It described Cape Town as an arid landscape where water was so scarce what little of it had to be guarded by the military. Politicians were involved in hideous water scandals and the city had ground to a halt. There was an illegal black market for water. When we started fleshing the thing out once Simon Cooper had agreed to produce the full version we shifted the timeline and set it in 2020 because 2012 was too close.

The full, amazing premier of Noah of Cape Town took place in August of 2009, almost 9 years ago. As I write this we are 3 months away from Day Zero. The day our taps will be switched off and we will have to queue for 25l of water. The Cape Town we warned about in a fantastic, futuristic, dystopian ‘what if?’ has arrived.

We didn’t pull the theme out of thin air. We were worried about Cape Town and water scarcity. We saw what was happening with the migration of people to the city, refugees from the North, the expansion of Cape Town, the corruption of politicians and officials. We knew there was going to be a water crisis. And we knew this in 2003.

We cannot have been the only ones.



In the last couple of days I have received whatsapps and emails and Facebum messages asking me to write my objections to a water levy for us Capetonians, based on the value of our houses, and the rates and taxes we pay. Aside from the fact that Woodstock has had rate hikes only commensurate with the hideousness of most new developments in it, I remain committed to the idea of a water levy, asking people who OWN their houses to pay more for the privilege of running water.

I have made my disgust known with our local government’s handling of the water crisis. Every single element of this utter disaster can be laid squarely at their feet. The looming water crisis in the Western Cape has been known for decades, and government’s cavalier ignoring of the warning signs is virtually criminal. Their usual Jonny come lately, blame everybody else, punishing, threatening style has never been more obvious. They have blamed the citizens of the city, national government, the weather, influx of people to the province; you name it they blame it.

This local government has wasted money on ads where our corrupt mayor whines about showering in a bucket, without any of the irony that that is how the majority of people have been washing for their entire lives.

The depth of this crisis is only now starting to be uncovered, with discoveries that most of our bottled water comes from our severely depleted dams, farming using at least 80% of our scarce resources, and the knee jerk building of temporary desalination plants as effective as wearing protection after having sex.

I wake up every day in a slight panic about water, and Day Zero. It is not a joke. Every time I flush I am reminded of the hideous and inappropriate colonial fuckery we inherited from a water abundant thinking British system. Flushing waste into drinking water is like using DDT on our food. Sickening. Yes, this system is 100% terrible for our particular condition, yet no long term plans for different systems are even being considered.

But, water in South Africa still remains inconceivably cheap. And it is mostly those who can afford it who have the greatest access. By that I mean taps with running water, flushing loos, boreholes, washing machines, dishwashers. In properties owned by people.

So, simply, if you own your property you should pay more for the privilege of having water. Stop complaining about that part of the problem. Suck it up. And, instead of behaving like your corrupt and immature local government, be part of the solution, even if it is paying an extra R150 a month, at the most. Take a deep breath and think about who you are, and where you are, and how you live.

PS. Also, avoid the Water Shedding Cape Town groups on Facebum, unless you want daily access to the worst trolls, haters, blamers and idiots.

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