Vote ANC for the full Titan experience

David Bullard asks why spend R4,6m on a deep dive in a submersible, when you can elect an ANC govt in WCape?


Being something of a wimp I have tended to avoid any activity that may be perceived as life threatening with the possible exceptions of alcohol consumption, tobacco use and eating red meat. These, I reason, are the sort of flirtations with danger that are more likely to creep up on one slowly rather than, as PG Wodehouse might have put it, the ones that creep up on you from behind with a length of lead piping applied violently to the cranium.

So I would never have even considered entering the ill-fated Titan submersible for a better view of the wreck of the Titanic at some 12 500 feet below sea level. Apart from the fact that I don’t currently have the necessary fare of R4.6 million to hand just at this moment I know that I can get a pretty good idea of what the sunken Titanic looks like for free on YouTube.

Having said that though I was as mesmerised as most people when I learnt a week ago that the submersible had lost contact with the mother ship shortly after launching for its two-hour journey to the ocean bed.

The mainstream media made much of the fact that there was 96 hours of oxygen on board to share among the five passengers but more practical thoughts occurred to me. What on earth was going through the minds of the occupants if they were still alive?

Were they remaining calm as the OceanGate boss man Stockton Rush assured them that this was but a temporary blip with the PlayStation control handset and normal service would be resumed as soon as possible. It’s not as if oxygen masks would be released from the panel above and obliging cabin crew would be dishing out whisky and gin miniatures to business class passengers. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

As the search went on early last week and the media updated us on how much oxygen was left it was tempting to believe that all would be well and the five passengers would be saved. But I was haunted by the practical considerations. How cold was it? How dark was it? Was there enough drinking water, was there anything to eat beyond the estimated eight-hour trip that the journey should have taken. What about the bowel movements of five, by now, very jittery passengers? Had anyone gone mad by then? Was Mr Rush planning an escape hatch for the next generation submersible? Did the two billionaires wonder at any stage if this had been a great idea after all?

As parts of the submersible wreckage were discovered late last week by rescue teams and the news that the submersible ‘imploded’ it became clear that those on board had perished soon after launch and the fight for remaining oxygen had never been a reality. May their souls rest in peace. From more informed media reports it looks as though the submersible crumpled like a beer can under the enormous pressure of the sea at such a depth killing all on board instantaneously. Now people are quite rightly questioning how a privately funded operation with no guarantee of safety or official sanction could be allowed to operate.

This is to miss the point completely though. The fact that Stockton Rush, the OceanGate boss, felt confident enough to take four guests down to see the wreck of the Titanic says it all. If madcap adventurers like Rush (and also those like Branson and Musk) didn’t exist we would still be living on a landmass terrified to get into a ship in case it fell off the edge of the world.

If man had never dreamed of being able to fly there would be no budget airline flights to the Greek islands so pasty poms could get a summer suntan. There are bound to be all sorts of stories with the benefit of hindsight about how the construction of the Titan submersible was fatally flawed. However, it had made successful journeys previously so there was no reason to doubt Mr Rush’s claim that “it was safer than crossing the road” until it wasn’t.

What did occur to me last week though was how similar a trip on the Titan is to a vote for the ANC. I was in Cape Town last Friday for a long overdue catch up at the Vasco de Gama restaurant in Greenpoint with some legendary

journos from the old days, one of whom is now a best selling author. The ANC Western Cape elective conference was due to begin in Cape Town but had not got off to a good start.

As the SABC, the faithful mouthpiece of the ruling party, reported

“The African National Congress in the Western Cape says the unauthorised occupation of hotel rooms by guests of delegates is one of the issues that has delayed the party’s 9th Provincial Conference at the Cape Town Convention Centre”

I also read a Tweet that said that the conference was slow to get going because delegates were having a lie in due to the inclement weather.

Naturally I have an additional explanation that the rest of the media seem to have missed. Decorex is also taking place at the same Cape Town venue as the ANC shindig and that would have had enormous pulling power for interior design conscious cadres. After all, what’s the point of making a fortune out of a dodgy tender and buying an upmarket property with your ill-gotten gains unless it’s immaculately appointed and worthy of a brag on your Instagram account?

Since the ANC in the Western Cape evidently don’t know how to behave properly in hotel rooms and since they can’t even launch their own elective conference on time one must ask the question….are these buffoons fit for purpose? And here the comparison with the disintegrating Titan on its final fateful voyage is spot on; the only difference being that previous trips on other ANC vessels around the country have proven beyond any doubt that this is one very dangerous risk.

Those of us who are blessed to live in the DA run Western Cape are well aware that things could be better. But they could also be much worse and if the ANC were in control I very much doubt if post flood damage would be addressed in places like Citrusdal or if there would be any urgency attached to road repairs. Based on the ANC’s thievery in other provinces the Western Cape would collapse within months and look horribly like the third world mess that Gauteng has become. The ANC is now well established as a criminal enterprise and we already have enough of those in the Western Cape thanks very much.

You vote ANC at your peril next year but, should the unthinkable happen and the ANC win the Western Cape, you will be in the political equivalent of the Titan submersible and how much oxygen is left will be the least of your worries.