14 November 2005

I have been through the Monday Paper and was very impressed with the newly commissioned computer laboratory at Liesbeeck Gardens. When I was head student in Leo Marquard in 1999, this was a project so close to my heart that the labs expand within UCT from the Baxter Labs. Well done to the outgoing house committee, Dr Kwenda and Ms Nomakhaya and all the best to Ms Mthimkhulu.

Andy Msiza, Subwarden, Head Student and Deputy Warden, Leo Marquard: 1998 - 2001

Parking fees too high

In case you have not noticed, red bay parking disks have gone up by 23% for 2006. That's 19 percentage points above the average CPIX inflation rate, and 17 percentage points above the upper limit of the Reserve Bank's inflation target range. How's that for patriotism? And we castigate the trade unions for holding the country to ransom by demanding wage settlements in excess of the inflation rate. The traffic officials have informed me that they intend raising the price of parking disks by 20% pa to get car drivers to catch the bus.

"Ha ha and ho ho" says Santa at this time of the year. Should we not remind them about the inelasticity of demand? World evidence shows that getting people to swap out of their spacious luxuriously air conditioned/heated private vehicles with favourite stereo music, into often unpunctual, smelly, crowded busses, is unheard of. So, are the inflated fees simply a source of revenue for the university that can be used to carry out the long overdue refurbishment of the dilapidated Robert Lesley building? Not a chance. As is mostly the case, these revenues get swallowed up in bureaucrat remuneration. So, if the powers-that-be should be surprised by the failure of their plan, let them do the parkers a favour as well as themselves, by taking the ECO110F course in microeconomics. I did and I know. I'm sticking to my sleigh and reindeer again this year.

S Claus

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