Monday, August 23, 2010

Striking while the iron isn't hot

Every year at this time the trade unions have a go at screwing up the country even more than the politicians do. It's a sad reality that during Apartheid, when the government hated the people and banned political parties, the trade unions were a political force that could be used against the state. Hence the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance. Unfortunately in the last 16 years little has changed ...
The government may have changed skin colour, but they still hate the people. This is evident in the way they treat road users, teachers, health workers, police, and the poor. Ministers and their tenderpreneur cronies are systematically robbing the country of its wealth.
The unions, too, hate the poor. People are dying in hospitals while they are on strike. Babies in maternity wards are being deliberately neglected. Students preparing for exams are being abandoned by teachers who are too downtrodden to care. But the worst part is the unions have a deliberate and systematic policy of doing everything they can to negotiate away any form of incentive based on merit. "An injury to one is an injury to all" has become the rationale for ensuring that workers, no matter now lazy or incompetent, get equal pay and keep their jobs, no matter what. The result is that competent, committed workers are not rewarded for their efforts, but are held back and become demoralized by their useless colleagues. As a result, the quality of work gets lower, which hardly justifies the pay increases. And the country suffers.
Politicians hate the poor. They are happy to rip off government budgets, abuse spending allowances, and make self-important pronouncements. But when it comes to actual work, all Parliament does is sit. And talk, and talk, and talk. All talk and no action, because action is risky: it may show off how much they don't have a clue. As a result, the poor continue to suffer.
Government bureaucrats hate the poor even more than the politicians. They follow the politicians leads by misusing their expense accounts, and lining the pockets of their comrades in the ruling party. They turn a blind eye to overcharging and lack of service delivery. So the poor suffer while they line their pockets and enjoy the good life.
The ANC hates the poor the most: hundreds of thousands have died of AIDS because of their dithering. Even more have died on the roads because they lack the will to cut down on speeding (BM's and Mercs go pretty fast, especially when escorted by flashing blue lights) or keep buses and taxis roadworthy. We have one of the highest road death tolls every day on the roads, and yet nothing changes, except that there are more taxis and more lawless drivers on the roads. And more poor people die or are injured.
Now the ANC is in the business of killing babies and sick people because they dither about wage negotiations, dither about improving hospitals, and instead focus on how much money a pharmacist can charge his customers.
Municipalities charged with the responsibility of improving services to their inhabitants are corrupt, inefficient, and cannot even keep their existing infrastructure running. That applies too to Eskom, the railways and other parastatals. It's so easy to cut maintenance budgets to fund those talk shops and wasteful conferences, not to mention power lunches and FIFA tickets. But the roads still get potholes, traffic lights need fixing, and water is leaking out of pipes.
The proverbial iron isn't hot, because all the money has been spent on soccer stadiums and the FIFA World Cup, and entertainment budgets, but the government won't admit that. But the workers were promised that the World Cup would be good for South Africa and "money would flow in". So now the strikers want some of that nonexistent money, and the unions are exploiting that to further their own agendas. Instead of forming a task force with government to find the money for salaries for teachers, doctors, nurses and policemen, they chose the path of confrontation. After all, it's only the poor who will suffer from their lack of leadership. Who cares about the poor?


Y said...

Good points, but...

I can't help but say «Welcome to Greece», hehe, how our nations are alike with their bullcrap, corrupted version of socialism...

Anonymous said...

What is worse:
a) a government that talks but does nothing except taxes; or
b) a government that interferes and screws up the country (and collects taxes)?

Given the choice, I'd prefer an ineffective government because at least the country can get on with life without too much interference.