Monday, 23 March 2015

10 alternative uses for e-tags

Nobody likes e-tolls, and after the recent budget speech where taxes have been raised for the first time in 20 years, it seems those ultra violet headache inducing gantries are not going anywhere any time soon. If they absolutely have to stay, here are 10 ideas for alternative uses that could make
e-tolls more valuable.
  1. Average speed enforcing: We have all experienced it. Driving merrily in the fast lane, 10 km/h over the speed limit, and this guy in his black BMW comes at you like you are driving in the wrong direction. Enforcing speed limits is a hit and miss on our roads, with motorists quickly adapting to trap locations. Average speed enforcing is really simple. Take the distance between gantry 1 and gantry 2, and divide by the time it takes to travel between those same gantries. If the result is over the speed limit for the road, deduct the traffic fine from the road user automatically. Make an extra loud beep to let him know he has been naughty.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Flip the teacher out of the classroom education system in South-Africa is struggling. There is a hand full of very good schools that consistently deliver top performing students, however the majority of the schools are facing serious challenges. Poverty, rural conditions and historic disadvantages are compounding the problem. If the problems are not addressed they will continue to affect learners for many years to come. South Africa spends an enormous amount of money on education, and yet the results are seriously lacking. Most students leave school without basic maths and science knowledge, which severely limits their potential contribution to the economy, and their future as productive citizens. Solutions to these problems have not been bold or innovative.

As with many problems in South-Africa usually the first solution implemented is to throw more of the taxpayer's money at it. Unfortunately South-Africa's pockets are near empty, and there are far too many problems to throw money at. Initiatives, for example to provide schools with tablets are good intentioned, however putting an electronic device in a child's hands will not make that child a top performer. A child will always require a good teacher. Unfortunately this is where the weakest link lies. The teachers are unable to effectively educate their students.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Study on Wealth Unjustly Obtained

The whites must return their wealth which they unjustly obtained during the apartheid era. We have all heard the argument. We may even have made the argument, or this argument may have been made against us. But have we thought this one through? Did we really think about what this means? Is this a fair argument? Is it even a valid argument? Do we know what it implies?

We are running a short study of 4 questions, that take less that 5 minutes to complete. Please participate using the link below. 

Study on Wealth Unjustly Obtained

Monday, 9 March 2015

A small idea that rocked the world (and yours can too)

Not all ideas have to be big ideas to change someone's life. Even if an idea can only improve the life of a single person, then that idea was an idea worth having. We often forget that a big idea was a small idea once upon a time. Sometimes it is better to have a small idea, rather than a big one. A small idea has the advantage that it is easy to understand, easy to implement, and easy to adapt. This combination allows a small idea to spread like wildfire.

The idea I'm talking about today is the street store initiative. This is an amazing initiative that creates a store on a street, where the homeless can "shop" for free. The store stocks donated clothes, and brings humility and respect to a usually embarrassing experience. Instead of scavenging as if they were vultures, this idea allows people to shop with dignity, and it makes all the difference. This simple idea is what makes the street store an amazing success.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

3 things that get in your way when facing a problem

We all come face to face with problems in our everyday life. Problems are all around us, and they can arise from anywhere. As a South-African we may feel we face more problems than most, and that those problems are becoming increasingly threatening our livelihoods. This causes a lot of unhappiness for us on a personal level, as well as a nation. It can be small problem (feeling treated badly because of our skin colour), or it can be a big problem (corruption in our Government, or threats to our jobs). Sometimes problems arise from a situation outside of your control (a land claim that includes a property that we own, or receiving the blame for a historical event that you had no say in), or it can arise from a choice (should I send my child to a public school or a private school). The good news is, the biggest part of the problem can be within our control.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Please raise taxes, the rich require it

I recently came across an article that claimed a low flat tax would be fair. What utter nonsense. To who would this be fair? It is certainly not fair to the poor. They can hardly feed themselves, how is a flat tax benefiting them? Wouldn't it be better if they paid no tax at all, not even VAT? Is it beneficial for the economy? Hardly, a rich person does not buy 10 cars more than a person who can only afford one, even though his salary may be 10 times more. He buys the same number of clothes than a middle income person, and he enjoys a night out on the town once a week, just like a middle income person. A rich person does not create jobs, he maximises profit, and that happens by minimizing expenditure.

Contrary to popular belief, providing tax breaks on the rich actually harms the economy, as Nich Hanauer explains in his banned TED talk. Why was it banned? It stepped on the toes of way too many rich folk. He is however not the only rich person to call for more taxes on the rich. Warren Buffett, billionaire extraordinaire, has made the same request multiple times. Mr Nene will give his budget speech today, and I hope he has made drastic changes on how we are taxed, and how social programs support the poor. It is my hope that a drastic plan is made to tackle the inequality we face in this country. Inequality is as bad for the poor as it is bad for the rich, as strange as that may sound.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

You are the president's wife, act accordingly

The president is in a relationship with every South-African. He is the husband and we the citizens, are his wives. Currently there has been a lot of fighting going around in this relationship. Everyone knows that all relationships have ups and downs, rough patches, good times and bad times. Even more so, in all relationships we fight. Fighting is not fun, but it is necessary. If done right, it helps relationships to grow stronger. If done incorrectly, it slowly but surely destroys the relationship. Fighting can smooth out our rough areas so that we can fit closer together, or it can knock out chips and create dents that will prevent us from ever fitting. Thus for a unified South-Africa we need to learn how to fight with our president, and he needs to learn how to fight with us. The truth is both sides have been getting it very wrong.

A lot of research has gone into why some relationships stand the test of time, and why others fail before they even really get going. Usually it all starts out with chemistry, which in itself is a really powerful thing. It can hide flaws, and make the biggest of faults seem like nothing more than a slight bend in the road. However chemistry fades after a few years, and those bends become filled with potholes. If the people in the relationship did not make effort to work out their differences in a constructive manner during these early years, the going gets tough and not too soon thereafter a pothole on a bend tips the apple cart. As South-Africans we and our president are quickly heading down this bend in the road, and it has been littered with potholes. Luckily for us, research has identified exactly how relationships fail, and what we can do to prevent it.

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