Welcome to University

7 years 4 months on …

Today, I accompanied Phillip to a welcoming session for 7000 odd first year students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) here in Port Elizabeth.

He was in his shorts, t-shirt and slops and I in my jeans, casual shirt and track shoes.

It took me back some 38 years when I started as a first year student at Stellenbosch University in 1976.

I recall my mother driving me to Stellenbosch and joining us at a welcoming dinner for first year students and their parents. I was then wearing a jacket and tie and she was wearing a hat – such was the auspiciousness of the occassion!

I was then the first in the Lunnon lineage to attend a University – part of a select few. If I remember correctly from the speeches today, we were told that from 25 000 applicants only 7000 made the grade this year at NMMU.

So, whatever the dress and wherever the University, it remains an auspicious occasion and a tremendous privilege to be able to attend an institution of higher learning.

It carries with it tremendous responsibilities and awesome opportunities to obtain the richest possible educational experience.

Arguably, the core purpose of a university is knowledge production and its use to make a difference in society.

Good luck, Phillip, the next generation! I must admit a tinge of jealousy today and I wish it were me doing it all over again. With the knowledge I have now, I would do it differently, or would I …?

Dare I hope to be here still when you graduate in 2017 with a B.Eng degree?

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I’m Still Calling …

After sorting out Sean’s phone, Phill and I headed off at 10h00 to do a few more errands in town … quick, quick or so we thought!

First stop – Standard Bank.

Standard Bank – why send Phill a letter to upgrade his kid’s account to a student account and not tell him in the letter of all the requirements? So the lady at the door asked if he had his student registration card or his matric results and my electricity account and … Sorry no help without these things. Better go home and start again! One needs to take your entire filing system with you to the bank because there is always something else that hey need! By the way, just how many copies of my ID document and my electricity account do they have on file by now?

I lost my temper and I apologize. Anyway, they sorted us out and we faxed the documents later!

That was one hour.

Then Incredible Connection. My printer is not working properly. I discovered that after buying two sets of new cartridges.

Now, armed with printer and original invoice, we’ll try again. (First time, a week ago, I didn’t have the invoice, so sorry no help.)

No, it’s out of guarantee period. We’ll have to send it to Joburg at a freight cost of R450.

Else, Trink, down the road will look at it. So off to Trink. Just looking at the name Kodak from Incredible Connection we were told ” no sorry we don’t work on those!” Try XYZ Printer Solutions just further down the road!

So, an hour later, after cleaning the heads and trial and error, the assistant had the printer working! R100 for labour …

Then Vodashop to buy a new SIM card for Sean. Brand new store with lovely kiosks for help. Pity about the no signage and directions about where to queue or where to go, and only one credit card machine for ten kiosks to share! But, in all, not badly serviced in 15 minutes!

Then off to the NMMU to open a book account for Phil before the rush of next week’s university opening. Well done, Van Schaik’s book shop for efficient service. Im just worried about those accounts when i see the books on special price for R800 or thereabouts! And they only just charge R20 for the credit card! What a bargain.

Then back to the Humewood Diesel depot and the graveyard of the iconic Apple Express. I shall write more later – suffice to say Cry the Beloved Country yet again.

We eventually arrived home at 14h00 after our quick little visit to town! And, oh shoot, forgot to sort out the data problem at Vodacom that the Call Centre could not sort out earlier today, so, dreads, another trip to town later today.

And, worst of all, forgot the beers!

As long as there’s beer, there’s hope!

Petrol Price Horror

Click on this link to read the article on petrol increase:

http://www.fin24.com/Economy/SAs-petrol-price-horror-20130917

Or just read below :

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Comment
By: Adriaan Kruger
2013-09-17 09:43
Port Elizabeth – Everyone knows the petrol price is high, very high. And most people know that the weak rand and high crude oil prices are to blame. But we do not always realise the full impact of the increase in fuel prices over the last few years because we tend to focus on the price at the pump for only a few minutes when prices change.

We’d rather try to forget that petrol used to cost less than R2.00 per litre up until the beginning of 1998.

Yes, that is right: Within 15 years the price of fuel has increased by more than 560%. That equals to an increase of nearly 14% year after year. Even this average increase of 14% per year does not sound so bad, until we realise that our salaries did not increase that much every year.

Effectively, we are spending a larger proportion of our salary feeding the pile of steel and chrome in the garage.

If we use the same figures the friendly people at South African Revenue Service have used for years as a guideline to calculate tax on travel allowances – 30 000km per annum – and an average fuel consumption of around 10 litres per 100km, every motorist’s fuel bill has increased to about R 3 375 per month.

This compares to R1 015 per month ten years ago when petrol was R4.06 per litre and R1 980 three years ago when the price was R7.92 per litre. Within 3 years our monthly expenditure on fuel has nearly doubled. Once again, our salaries did not.

Unfortunately, petrol is a necessity. And there are no substitutes for the stuff. We still need around 200 to 250 litres every month to get to work and back and to fetch the kids from school.

The result of higher petrol prices is simply that everybody had to reduce spending on other things to pay the extra R1 500 per month for fuel.

Latest results and commentary by almost all SA retail groups mention the fuel price as one of the main reasons for lower growth in sales. Gareth Ackerman, chairperson of Pick n Pay, recently referred to “the devastating effect of the increase in the fuel price on consumers’ disposable income”.

The Reserve Bank has identified higher fuel prices as the biggest source of inflation. This deals the SA consumer a second blow. Not only did the increase in the cost of petrol cut deeply into our disposable income, but the little we have left buys much less because of higher inflation.

The overall numbers are huge. South Africans use more than 20 billion litres of petrol and diesel every year. If we assume that half of this is used by private vehicle owners, then households in SA are currently spending nearly R60bn more on fuel every year than 3 years ago.

In total, SA citizens have some R5bn per month less to spend on food, clothing and entertainment.

Unfortunately, things will not change while the oil price remains high and the rand stays weak. Let’s hope a cold winter in the northern hemisphere won’t push oil prices even higher.

– Fin24

*After chasing money on the JSE for 15 years, Adriaan Kruger is now living a relaxed lifestyle in Wilderness and lectures economics part-time at NMMU.