10 years ago
WHILST one of the world’s handful of flamingo Ramsar sites is under threat in Tanzania, following serious concerns regarding the well-being of the flamingos at Kamfers Dam in Kimberley, the recent inauguration of the Sol Plaatje’s newly elected mayor, who seems to have a stronger stance towards conservation than his predecessor, has provided a flicker of hope with regards to saving the flamingos.
All this fuzzy talk of the restoration of the rivalry with the All Blacks is great but it should not cloud the fact that the Boks blew it at Loftus. Unbelievably so.
They thought they had won it. Instead of keeping their eyes on the road and their hands upon the wheel, to borrow from Jim Morrison in Roadhouse Blues, they started focusing on the scoreboard, and they liked what they saw, they thought the job was done...
If not all of the players, for Malcom Marx did not look pleased to be jerked, then certainly the coach.
And the job should have been done. The Boks may have to wait a long time for anther golden opportunity to put the All Blacks to the sword, and they could have done it handsomely if they had just kept the foot on the throat.
Some have said the Boks choked. I don’t think that was the case ... it was not a lack of self belief or failure in confidence that was the problem, it was the opposite. They choked on their arrogance in believing they had won the game at the three-quarter mark.
The big accusation from annoyed fans is that Rassie cocked it up by emptying his bench when the coast seemed to be clear for the Boks at 3113 with 15 to go. Quite possibly, but to my mind the substitutions issue is only part of the wider malaise that hit the Boks — the fatal belief that they were over the hills with the spoils and far away.
It could probably be summed up by the big grin sported by Faf de Klerk when he came off, his hands aloft clapping the crowd. Yes, he had played an excellent game but you don’t exude an air of triumph until the champagne is popped in the change room, especially against the All Blacks, the masters at shifting up a gear in the last ten.
There was also sloppy play from the Boks in the closing minutes — such as the forwards tripping over each other in fumbling the receipt of a kick-off — which was not there for 65 immaculate minutes; discipline on defence went AWOL, with both wings falling into the old trap of leaving too much space on the outside, and Elton Jantjies got his tackling technique all wrong in trying to stop an All Black charge on the line.
Which bring us to the substitution business. Not one substitute played badly when he came on, in fact they looked sharp, notably Damian Willemse and Embrose Papier. But what happened in those final mad minutes at Loftus is not about how individual Springboks fared, it is about how the team dynamic changed. Even if it is only in the team’s subconscious, something changes when a winning side undergoes mass changes at a vital stage of the game. There can be a shift in focus and concentration. The collective eye can move off the ball, the distraction can cause the foot to come off the pedal.
The thing with substitutions is that the coach does not have to make them. If the ship is charging full steam to safe harbour, then let it steam away. You bring the substitutions on to change the game when you are losing, and to give players game time when the game truly is won on the scoreboard, which is never the case against the All Blacks. Bringing on the bench is a gamble, so don’t gamble unless you have to.
I think Rassie bought on the bench because he believed the game was won, and perhaps also because he was sensitive to the fact that he had started the match with only three black players, and his bench happened to be black.
This makes sense if we go back to Rassie’s post-match press conference after the victory over Australia in Port Elizabeth. He did not empty his bench that day, and he was asked by a reporter why he had not given game time to Damian Willemse and Embrose Papier.
Erasmus was clearly irritated and for the first time since he has been coach he answered a question tersely. He said: “You don’t have to make substitutions. Sometimes it is not necessary.”
A week later, Erasmus, probably having stewed on that perceived criticism, makes sweeping changes when he did not have to...
It is hardly inconceivable that Rassie felt pressurised into making the changes. There are realities that challenge the Bok coach all the time, realities that no other coach in world sport has to face. THE MUNICIPAL offices in Phokwane, Ganspan and Pampierstad were closed yesterday after the Phokwane municipal manager, Advocate Matshidiso Mogale, was served with a suspension letter.
She was suspended during a special council meeting that was held on September 30, but later returned to work following meetings between the ANC Regional Executive Committee and council, whereupon she was reinstated.
Municipal workers and community members handed over a memorandum to an ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) representative yesterday, in which they are demanding that the mayor and Speaker be removed.
“We are all here to support the municipal manager. There were about 100 workers from the surrounding areas as well as, eight taxis from Jan Kempdorp, five taxis of supporters from Hartswater as well as people from Kutlwanong. Mogale’s suspension is in defiance of the decision of the REC to reverse her removal.”
They believed that the special council meeting that has been convened for today to apparently appoint an acting municipal manager, would not go ahead.
The memorandum requests the ANC and the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs to investigate whether Mogale was suspended in line with procedures.
The community is also angry over a R1,7 million project to install 248 taps, where only seven taps were installed, as well as unfinished projects where the money was apparently used by top municipal officials to build mansions for themselves and their relatives.
They believed that the municipal manager was the target of a plot as she was intent on fighting fraud and corruption.
“She requested the mayor to make the selection process of municipal workers more transparent and is monitoring projects to make sure that they are implemented properly.”
Residents claimed that more than R1 million was deposited into the account of a service provider that installed the flawed billing system when the municipal manager happened to be out of town.
“This faulty billing system is the reason why ratepayers are refusing to pay their accounts because they do not know what they are being billed for. As a result the municipality has not been able to pay Eskom and the Vaalharts Water Board.”
According to the Phokwane municipality, a letter of suspension was sent electronically to Mogale on Tuesday.
“She has been suspended with immediate effect, pending an investigation. The charges are outlined in the charge sheet.”
It confirmed that a special council meeting was convened for today.
“The agenda will be distributed during the council meeting.”
The municipality stated that workers downed tools yesterday and that political interference was hampering the operation of the municipality.
ANC provincial spokesperson, Naledi Gaosekwe, said they accepted the memorandum and would examine the grievances, while the ANC REC had not responded to media enquiries at the time of going to press.
– Sandi Kwon Hoo