My oh my, we really are having so much pre-soccer fun here in South Africa, aren’t we? The ongoing Transnet strikes alone have cost the country R7 billion, and the economy is losing R300m – R500m a day, according to this report in the Citizen.
There is only three words to describe this, and that is -- “Absolute National Chaos!”
What other descriptive term can one use to adequately describe what is taking place in South Africa at present? People have told me that I must not be so negative, meaning that they don’t want to here anymore bad news, --- and I really don’t blame them.
Sometimes when these same people ask me, “Why are you so quiet today, are you not feeling well?” I normally reply, depending on who is asking the question, “I’m fine thanks!” Meanwhile my thoughts are spinning around a multitude of things, and between all this, I also see flashes of a brilliant idea to stop all this chaos.
If Soccer City can be blessed by 300 sangomas with the blood of a slaughtered ox, why can they not bless the entire country in a similar fashion, or is the task way too humongous?
The chaos is manifesting in every sphere of our lives.
You see it in the local supermarkets where certain brands are forever running out of stock, and other brands have almost doubled in price. You see it while driving, and while trying your best to dodge reckless taxi drivers, and also the many potholes. You see it in the city centre where abandoned building projects are hastily being rushed to get the job done before the crowds arrive. You see it in the unfinished roadwork’s on the main highway leading from JHB International Airport to Pretoria, and you wonder how the job will ever be completed before the World Cup Soccer kicks off! I’ve noticed how all the country flags on lamp-poles along Hans Strydom Drive in Pretoria-East went up, and can recall how amazed I was to drive past there the next day to see that none have been stolen yet! (Can you see that I do sometimes report positive news!)
Those who cannot see that this country is in chaos, must have their heads buried in the ground, or maybe they’re on happy-pills, or maybe they’re smoking something – I don’t know? Some of the chaos can be read in local newspapers, or on websites where it’s available for the entire world to view, -- hence the reason why I sometimes feel it is pointless to blog about these issues. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, and also to stress my point of view that we are indeed in a solemn state of Absolute National Chaos, I might as well highlight some of the latest news:
Four Metrorail train coaches in Johannesburg’s Park Station blaze in an apparent act of sabotage.
Eskom workers threaten to strike despite a court interdict preventing strike action.
Violent service delivery protests are a certainty.
And briefly featured this evening on the 7 o’clock TV News (SABC 2), just after the PSYOP Sewende Laan...
Senior police officer arrested for the disappearance of 98 firearms from a police station.
And so on...
Here’s the latest news on the Transnet strike:
South Africa counts cost of Transnet strike
AVASHNEE MOODLEY, STEVEN TAU and SAPA
JOHANNESBURG - The Transnet strike has cost the country about R7 billion and will have a crippling effect on the economy.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and economists warn that South Africa cannot afford the strike to continue for much longer while the public nervously watches the clock as the World Cup is about to kick off.
Busa said although Transnet made contingency plans to cushion key commercial sectors, the costs to the economy are escalating rapidly.
“Supply chains are being severely disrupted and, in many cases, export contracts have been permanently lost. Ripple economic effects are now also beginning to be discernible in the southern African region,” it said.
Although it is not possible to determine how much the strike has cost the economy, estimates range between R6 billion-R7 billion.
Busa said: “Beyond the overall statistical aggregates lie the devastating effects the strike is having on companies and workers in sectors like transport and agriculture.
“Business appeals to labour to act in the national interest especially on the eve of the World Cup. Busa believes unless the Transnet industrial action can be settled soon, decisive government intervention may be necessary.”
Economist Mike Schussler said the economy was losing between R300 million-R500 million daily.
“It could go much higher but it depends on the workers and the unions if they decide to go back to work or not. Most companies in the mining and fuel industries are affected, they are a much bigger industry than the agricultural industry which (has now) lost R1 billion,” said Schussler.
Transnet said yesterday about 65% of its employees had returned to work. “We are pleased at the turnout and we would like to thank our colleagues for placing the interests of the country ahead of short-term gains,” said acting Transnet CEO Chris Wells.
This is despite the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) vowing to continue striking until Transnet raises its wage offer to 15%.
Wells said: “For those who have returned to work, I want to assure them the company will do all it can to ensure their safety and security. The company has also taken steps to ensure the safety of assets in the continued strike by Satawu members.”
Transnet has unilaterally implemented the 11% increase despite Satawu’s refusal to accept it.
There are too many related posts on this blog to list, but the one I’ve decided to include here also uses the term: “Absolute National Chaos”
Stop Terrorizing the Nation
The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair
Author: Martin Meredith
Publication date: June 2006
In its 750 pages, this book thoroughly and meticulously charts the history of Africa since independence. Dealing with every single country, it explores and analyses the reasons for the continent's dismal failure. Although it provides a plethora of facts and figures, the work is an accessible and compelling read as it charts the bitter history of 50 years of independence from its hopeful beginnings to today's poverty and despair. Some passages may however upset the sensitive reader.