Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What will happen to all the dead people?

Day two of the municipal strike and day two of the inner city blackout.
First task I landed was to get the latest on yesterday's tunnel fire and the resulting power outage. According to City Power guy, the undergound passages were no longer giant pizza ovens, and technicians were now able to go in, clean up and try and find what caused the whole expensive, chaotic mess.
I asked if it could once again be those notorious cable thieves and if the technicians were perhaps going to come across a couple of toasted copper cowboys down there. Indeed they did, he admitted, explaining that this would mean that the 40 street-block blackout could then officially be chalked up to the work of criminals rather than a technical fault. Ah. I am wondering if there are some jobs on the line here.
Mission two: the municipal strike is now in full swing, rubbish is piling up everywhere, protestors are kicking over dustbins, throwing stones and swearing. All angles of the story are being covered by journalists with briefs off all kind. And the delightful job I get? Find out what happens to people who die this week while all the gravediggers and crematorium workers are on strike. With luck like this, I should buy a Lotto ticket hey.
I make a bunch of calls and am reassured that Joburg City Council was on top of their game last week. They did anticipate the continued passing on of souls despite the strike, and they had made some sharp contingency plans. Enough graves have been dug to last at least until next week before they start running into problems. Their official line on cemetaries: we have skeleton staff on standby. Bwahaha! Honest-to-goodness, I could not have made that up!
And then, if people STILL have problems, they can always call the ever-efficient Joburg Connect call centre where they simply have to press all the prompts dished out by the voice commands that will lead them to the City Parks division where a cheerful staffer (they did not say if it would be a skeleton) will be delighted to assist.
So I tried it out. Followed the instructions to the T and, after a mere 10 full and complete minutes of Ode to Joy played on a toy xylophone or some such melodiousness, my call did get answered. In my role as an objective journalist rather than highly annoyed ratepayer I cheerfully asked to be put through to City Parks for assistance with a death-related crisis.
"Ag no, ma'am. Those people are all on strike. You are not going to find any of them here today, okay," I was told by a stressed out man who mistook my reply of "Oh dear" as "Goodbye" and put the phone down on me.

1 comment:

  1. Mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa... Girl, you have me literally laughing out loud every single time I read your blog!