Thursday, November 22, 2007

South Africa Facts for the Day

Apparently the 25th session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in 1990 adopted November 18 as African Statistics Day and last year "the day was celebrated by more countries than ever before".

I'm not sure how one celebrates statistics or even what to wear.

Nor am I sure what statistics South Africa contributes though I do know the government is not too keen on releasing statistics that might question its degree of success in certain fields. It was this thought that led me to instruct the Stoep Talk Organisation's Statistics Division to bring readers stats they can trust.

This is what we found.

Our surveys revealed that the cops with the highest income are Gauteng's Metro Police who man night-time roadblocks. On average each cop makes R15 000 a month in bribes.

We discovered that the average combi taxi driver breaks traffic laws 273 times a day.

At any one time there are 178 sets of traffic lights out of order in Johannesburg.

If the person in charge of the city's robots was replaced by a trained chimp paid in bananas it wouldn't help much but it would save R380 000 a year.

The one Metro policeman known to have been trained to actually help road users by directing traffic at faulty traffic lights was run over in 2004 on his first day on duty.

Since then all Metro policemen opt to work at nighttime roadblocks.

Seventy-five percent of Johannesburg councillors are unable to point out more than three suburbs on a map of the city.

Eskom's rolling blackouts are costing the national economy R1-million a minute.

The unchecked spate of car thefts is now worth R22,6-billion a year to the motor car industry which has to replace the cars. The industry has categorically denied it trains car thieves.

The Star went on sale in Harare last week at $250 000 a copy (no kidding). With inflation running at more than 1000% the newspaper should be costing $20-million a copy this time next year. Vendors cannot give small change (ie: anything less than $50 000).

- What do you wear to a statistics function?

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