Ex­tra hours can help to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity, let’s use the time

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Gavin Hill­yard Som­er­set West, Western Cape

READ with in­ter­est the re­cent let­ters with pro­pos­als for day­light sav­ing. While I agree whole­heart­edly with the sen­ti­ments, I don’t agree with the pro­pos­als.

South Africa takes its time from the 30º East merid­ian, which is near Pi­eter­mar­itzburg. Cape Town is near to the 18º merid­ian and so should re­ally take its time from the 15º East line – one whole hour’s dif­fer­ence.

The prob­lem with the cur­rent sys­tem is that hours of day­light are wasted in sum­mer in the east­ern prov­inces, where sun­rise is at 5.30am and sets at 6.30pm or there­abouts.

Con­trast this to the sun­rise in mid-win­ter in Cape Town of close to 8am.

If it is over­cast, ef­fec­tive sun­rise is closer to 8.30am. Many of us have to rise in dark­ness to get to work, with sun­rise two or three hours later.

Have some em­pa­thy for a worker in Khayelit­sha who has

Ito get up at 4am to get to work by 7.30am or 8am. Not pleas­ant on a cold, wet morn­ing and prob­a­bly not healthy over the long term, given that hu­mans are de­signed to wake up as it gets lighter.

There are five pos­si­bil­i­ties to ad­dress the prob­lem, start­ing with the least suit­able so­lu­tion:

1. Main­tain the un­sat­is­fac­tory sta­tus quo. Day­light hours are wasted: 0 out of 10.

2. Have two time zones – 15º time for the Western and North­ern Cape, and the 30º line for the other prov­inces.

This is not to­tally prac­ti­cal as parts of some of the east­ern prov­inces are fur­ther west than some parts of the western prov­inces.

A glance at a map would eas­ily il­lus­trate this. It would, how­ever, be great for Eskom, as the peak de­mand pe­ri­ods would be spread over two hours in­stead of one: two out of 10.

3. Keep the 30º East merid­ian as a ba­sis for time and in­sti­tute sum­mer time and win­ter time.

At mid­night on March 31 set clocks back one hour, and at mid­night on Septem­ber 30 ad­vance the clocks one hour. South Africa is out of step with the rest of the world here. Even Namibia has day­light sav­ing.

The whole coun­try will ben­e­fit, but the one-hour dis­par­ity be­tween the east and the west would re­main: four out of 10 here.

4. Take our time from the 22.5º merid­ian which passes through a point close to the cen­tre of South Africa. This so­lu­tion will av­er­age the ef­fects of the dis­par­ity be­tween east and west – Dur­ban/Gaut­eng etc, will have an ex­tra half-hour of

In­dia im­ple­ments it suc­cess­fully, why not in SA?

day­light and we in Cape Town can sleep in an ex­tra half-hour.

It partly solves wasted day­light hours, but not the east/west dis­par­ity. A sim­ple once-off change to im­ple­ment: six out of 10.

5. A com­bi­na­tion of op­tions two and four. We take our time from the 22.5º merid­ian and in­sti­tute a day­light sav­ings sys­tem, re­tard­ing and ad­vanc­ing the clock about nine days after the au­tumn and spring equinoxes. Log­i­cal, prac­ti­cal and easy to in­sti­tute. In­dia, for ex­am­ple, takes its time from the 82.5º merid­ian.

That is why they are three­and-a-half hours ahead of us in time. If it is suc­cess­ful in In­dia, with a sim­i­lar east/west ge­o­graphic width to South Africa, why not im­ple­ment it here?

Any­thing that will re­sult in more pro­duc­tiv­ity should be grabbed with both hands: 10 out of 10 in my opin­ion.


DON’T WASTE IT: Men ab­seil from the land­mark Big Ben in London. The writer says that by ad­vanc­ing our clocks will put South Africa in sync with the rest of the world.

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