Category Archives: South Africa

Cancelling Telkom

Oh frabjous day! I’ve managed to find an internet provider which isn’t ADSL, which means I can finally ditch Telkom. Oh Telkom, it’s crazy but ringing you up every two or three days to complain about slow/dropping internet just isn’t my idea of fun.

Trying to cancel your account with them is just as much of a headache as being with them though! If you ring them up to cancel they tell you that you have to do it online, and when you log into the new self service panel that they have there isn’t an option to cancel it. If you hunt around for ages you can find something to move your line, but that’s not much help now is it!

Then I googled how to do it and found this:

“Three easy steps” – my left foot! Once you’ve spent the prerequisite 3 or 4 minutes hunting around their badly designed site for the right menu options you’ll get to the service page. There they’ve not named the services things like “landline” and “adsl”, but random things that you have to just do your best guess at. Secondly their website doesn’t actually work properly, half of the select dropdowns are obscured because their CSS is shit. And thirdly… check this out:
Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 18.28.46


If you’re the business owner you have to upload your ID, and if you’re dead you have to upload a certificate to prove it. However, I am neither a business owner nor dead (I checked my pulse and everything). What to do? If you click continue the validation kicks in and you get told you must upload something. And so I uploaded a png with my ID on one half, and a picture of my cat with the caption “ALERT! CAT STEALING OWNER’S IDENTITY!” on the other. That should give them a bit of excitement. Half an hour after I set out to cancel my account I felt relief, happiness and satisfaction finally when I clicked submit, marred by the barely civil message on the next screen informing me that  my service is not cancelled and they have to ring me to confirm cancellation. Bet they don’t, the bastards.

Stop a minute though. Did any of that make sense?

But I mean, do you really need your ID to cancel services if you’re logged in using Telkom credentials on their own secure platform? Especially when apparently it isn’t cancelled and they have to ring you to confirm before they cancel? Ooh don’t get me started on how annoying that is – why can’t you just cancel it over the phone in the first place then?

But to go back to the point at hand: do people go around hacking people’s Telkom credentials and then, like, cancelling their service?? That doesn’t sound quite right. If I was bad and had illegal access to someone’s Telkom account I’d use it to make MORE accounts for myself, not cancel current ones. Surely???

It’s almost like Telkom just wants to make it difficult enough for people to cancel so that they don’t bother and give in and just carry on paying for the shitty service that they don’t use. But I’m sure those little angels of amazing customer service wouldn’t be doing that now, would they?

Of course, I could always just not pay my bill 🙂

Transferring money from UK Natwest account to Capitec account in SA

As far as I can tell this is absolutely impossible if you are in South Africa because the form validation on the natwest internet banking website rejects the Nedbank SWIFT code (NEDSZAJJ), the capitec SWIFT code (CABLZAJJ) and the Nedbank clearing code (198765 Or 109509).

It seems hard to believe that I am the only person who has encountered this problem. Has nobody else ever tried to use Natwest online banking to transfer money to a Capitec account?

The most useless mobile phone service provider in South Africa

20 minutes on the phone speaking to 5 different people have earned Cell-C the new crown of most useless mobile phone service provider in South Africa. Although actually no, I’m not sure that they reach the same dizzying heights of ineptitude as Vodacom. The odd thing is I wanted to give them MORE money, so you would have thought they would have been reasonably open to the idea.

This screenshot has only been doctored slightly to remove the ads:

Cell-c as the most useless service provider

Documented for posterity

South Africa’s Dis-Chem animal testing policy on cosmetics

So, I’ve been looking around for shampoo/conditioner/soap stuff which is not tested on animals. It’s surprisingly difficult to find, which is odd: you would imagine that since humanity has been using soap for 4812 years we would have fucking figured out by now what makes our skin break out in a rash and what doesn’t without needing to rub it all over shaved rabbits kept in cages in horrible strobe-lit laboratories first.

I am agnostic about animal testing for medical purposes, but for vanity products and basic cleaning materials it’s just ridiculous. The frantic manic feverish visual shouting – yelling – BLUDGEONING of advertisements showing off the latest shampoo with nutrino cerano collagen elastin free-radical pro-xylane peptide antioxidant crap is nauseating, and it’s sickening to think how the media manipulates girls/women and slowly grooms them so that they eventually they actually don’t even blink at this shit and actually end up believing that using L’Oreal shampoo is going to make their hair age less or whatever-the-fuck.

And one is reminded of this every half an hour or so if you watch TV, browse the internet, listen to the radio, etc, so there is no damn escape and frankly it’s no wonder I’m as worked up as I am about it and all the swearing in this post is perfectly justified. If anybody ever manages to make the science behind that stuff popular enough to break through to the targeted market group those cosmetic companies are going to be in seriously deep shit (go go go Ben Goldacre and

Anyway the products which are not tested on animals tend to be full of things like organic free range yak lactate extract, with the yaks hand raised and milked by bearded tibetan monks wearing nothing but sandals. This sort of thing adds about R90 (£9ish) onto the price of what you would otherwise imagine would be a perfectly ordinary bottle of shampoo. I have spent hours trawling organic shops, supermarkets, chemists etc looking in vain for affordable shampoo which isn’t tested on animals. HOURS! And it was right under my nose the whole time (I think I must have just blanked it out because of the packaging or something): it seems that most Dis-Chem own brand products* a) actually work, b) are cheap and c) are not tested on animals**. Hurrah!

* This fact is based on me going into Dis-Chem and checking random bottles of bubble bath and shampoo, I have no idea how many products they produce actually are/are not tested on animals.

** Note that this information is only written on the back of their bottles in tiny writing and does not appear to be advertised anywhere (including their website) that I can see. This is odd; there is a huge market for caring consumers. Do they not know this? Why do they think the other companies get away with charging R100 for a tiny bottle of shampoo? Do imagine that just because a woman is interested in having shiny hair she does not care about animals? Hmm, worrying thoughts. On the other hand I am quite respectful of them as they are clearly doing it under their own steam and because they feel it is the right thing to do rather than as a slimy marketing ploy.

South African Banks & Standard Bank

I really miss my bank in the UK. Sure they hassled me about keeping my address up to date and changing my local bank branch, but they were really good at fraud prevention and their services, in retrospect, were fantastic. The interest on my current account might not have been great, but at least it was there.

In South Africa, banks charge you for depositing money in your account and they charge you for withdrawing money from your account. They charge you for leaving money in your account and not doing anything to it and they charge you for telephone banking. They charge you for writing a cheque and they charge you for checking your balance. They charge you for internet banking. They charge you even more if you use an ATM which doesn’t belong to your bank (and honestly, the ATMs are often out of order). They don’t do anything so pernicious as giving you interest for the money you give them (current account) – no, getting your money is them doing you a favour, and they’ll make damn sure they charge you through the nose for it. Continue reading

This blog, flickr and youtube

This has turned into a very boring and impersonal blog about Drupal shortcuts! I should really do something about that. It’s really quite hard to work out what to write about – personal stuff doesn’t seem appropriate for something that future employers might read, but it’s difficult for me to write about things which interest me without them having personal elements. So I think, all in all, I’m going to stop worrying about that and just write about whatever I feel like. After all, I’ve got to harness my vitriol somehow (I have a rant about the quality of writing in 9 hours 9 persons 9 doors bottled up that I really ought to expunge for a start).

So, working in one of the most beautiful botanic gardens in the world (Kirstenbosch, Cape Town), I have been trying to take up photography again and set myself a challenge of taking 3 images that I am happy with per week. I’ve been a bit distracted because what I really want to do is explore the beautiful reddish-brown colour of the water in the mountain streams, and I’ve been looking at cheap underwater camera cases on Amazon. I did try taking a photo with my camera wrapped in a clear plastic bag (because I’m impatient and I’d have to order it from as there is no, but it wasn’t great and was kinda blurry:


I love the red colours and the quality of the sunshine in the water – the colours really are like that, I’ve not photoshopped it or enhanced it at all.

Anyway, the point is that I’m setting myself a goal – to upgrade this blog because goodness knows what version of wordpress it’s running on, to theme it so that it’s got my flickr feed ( and also my little kitty cat’s youtube channel 🙂, because, honestly, I’m not just some kind of Drupal/programming nerd!