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It was with a sense of irony that I took notice of the generators starting up at the Mogol Club in Ellisras, on a relatively warm evening on 18th June 2014. Or should that be Lephalale, the name by which Ellisras now goes?
Originally named as Ellisras after the original farm owners, Patrick Ellis and Piet Erasmus, the town was renamed as Lephalale by the provincial government of Limpopo in 2002. The generators had come on because of a dodgy power supply, and as the Partinform trade show was about to begin power was needed for the function to continue as planned, and for its purpose to be fulfilled. My sense of irony came about from the fact that Lephalale is the site for the Medupi Power Station, a new dry-cooled coal-fired power station being built by Eskom.
Medupi is a Sepedi word for “the rain that soaks parched lands”, but with the considerable delays in commissioning this power station and the numerous rumours of financial impropriety I think that Medupi actually means “the place of many backhanders”.
The aforesaid purpose of Partinform is to increase market awareness of Quality Branded Product, and by so doing encouraging the use of these products by parts resellers, workshops, fitment centres, and all the players in the automotive aftermarket, for the mutual benefit of all concerned.
Partinform is also a great forum for people to share their experiences, learn about new products being launched, and to assist in the selling and fitment of these quality branded parts. And so, on the evening of 18 June, with the assistance of the generators, the show went on, and an informative time was had by all. And there was another metaphor to be found in the situation, because the contrast between the hard working entrepreneurs and employees of the automotive aftermarket businesses; compared to the quasi-state institutions such as Eskom is stark, and sobering.
And it was not lost on me that the good folk of Ellisras with whom I was interacting, are the guys who keep the machinery going, and the vehicles moving, and whatever else is necessary to prop up the economy and maintain it on an even keel, in a productive and noteworthy way. On the other hand, the Medupi power station represents the other side of the coin, and the not so good folk from Lephalale who represent the state sponsored side of the economy, and things such as graft and inefficiency.
With this in mind, I looked at the gathering and I was pleased, because this represented the righteous people of our land, and who by the sweat of their brow carry an enormous burden, uncomplainingly and with a smile on their face, as they pull the plough of an increasingly large gravy train.