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Monday, 04 August 2008

What to do when you make an accident in your government vehicle

The following actually happened.

Government Department X, somewhere in South Africa, has a number of employees who have to drive government vehicles in the course of their official duties.

Of course, this being the Azanian banana republic, government vehicles are seen as private property, to be utilized as the "owner" (aka the employee) sees fit. Its official purpose is of tertiary importance. Vehicles are therefore used to ferry kids to school. As an informal taxi. As a hauler of Black Label quarts, which are sold out of the back of the official vehicle. Call it a shebeen on wheels. On some weekends they haul concrete. In a vehicle that is not a bakkie or a truck.

The drivers are almost all under- or unqualified. Most of their licenses have been fraudulently obtained. They are often pissed and mostly reckless. Vehicles are routinely revved to levels that would blow up a F1 engine. They end up as wrecks in former homelands, having been used to transport eighteen people and their luggage for a weekend, this in vehicles intended for 2 passengers. They are parked for hours outside local whorehouses and watering holes, instead of working.

Eventually the few remaining non-affirmative appointees at the employer grow heartily sick of wasting taxpayers' money in this way. They put out a tender and install a vehicle tracking system, similar to Netstar, Tracker or Matrix's products. This records and transmits illegal usage, over-revving, harsh braking and moving the vehicle out of officially designated areas. The idiots driving the vehicles eventually wise up and stop their worst abuses, because suddenly the supervisors are mysteriously able to see when the vehicles go to Qwa-Qwa for the weekend, or stand parked outside Mama Ningi's shebeen.

One fine day, Mr Government Employee and his mate decide to play Schumacher. Pissed out of their skulls, they do 140 km/h in a 60 zone. With the inevitable result. They crash their government vehicle into a private vehicle, killing the other vehicle's passengers.

Now they're screwed, and the horrible realization slowly dawns on them. Their vehicle's black box has recorded their transgression. Their guilt will be easily proved. Hau! Eish! What now? After racking their brains, they come up with a truly Azanian solution to their dilemma:

Nothing for it but to pour petrol on the vehicle and set the evidence alight.

Two problems with the above solution.

1. The movement and engine parameters are transmitted to the base station in real time, so it's already in the server's database many kilometers away.

2. The fire destroys the vehicle, but not the EEPROM in the black box. This is recovered, with the evidence intact.
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