About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

06 June 2009


Wonderboom are old hands on the rock scene in South Africa. With numerous hits, and a long time on the South African scene; they are one of the most professional bands - and their gigs show it. They have their own crew, mixing was perfect and guitars and equipment were all set up before the gig. But most of all, the band has chracters and great on stage performance - from the drunk and essentric drummer (Danny), the subdued lead guitarist, Martin to a very energetic bass guitarist, Wade and great vocalist in Cito - they combine well, and give a great show.

Back 2 Basix is a strange venue in many respects - it used to be a house - and so it feels quite intimate. But despite the great band, the crowd was quite small - about 30 to 40 - and not the 100 odd expected (as per the barman). But despite the small crowd, it was a rocking show, and definitely one of the best rock shows I have been to in Jo'burg.

01 June 2009

Security and Liberty

According to the Mail and Guardian, the founder of Auto and General (a South African short term insurance company) has offered the government R1 Billion to fund a new approach to crime fighting.

Essentially his plan is to provide a lot more technology tools - satellites, helicopter patrols, computers etc. While the motivation is certainly noble, as is the business motivation (less crime leads to less theft leading to less payouts for A&G), two questions need to be asked.

1) Is funding the main cause of South Africa's, so far, unsuccessful battle against crime. And,

2) Are high tech solutions such as satelites and CCTV cameras worth it.

On the first question - I don't think money itself is an issue. The South African police need better pay, better training, more motivation, better tools. I somehow doubt R1 billion is what the government has been missing and thus could not implement. That said, every little bit helps.

In terms of high tech solutions, I am reminded of the quote:
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." --- Benjamin Franklin
that is often brought up in privacy papers (and in Civ 4). There is always a trade-off between security and indiviual liberty. The tighter the security controls, the less individual liberty and vice-versa. It would be good for the police to all have computer systems that can efficiently capture reports (crime, accidents etc) and provide correlation of different crimes in terms of time and location. However, linking police solutions to high end monitoring solutions such as CCTV cameras with facial recognition would start to erode liberty that South Africa struggled to achieve.

Ultimately, the root causes of crime in South Africa, including the lack-lusture justice system need to be addressed. Better policing will help, but not necessary solve the problem.