Back to our bad old ways


Back to our bad old ways

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It was obviously too good to last wasn’t it? I mean that euphoric, “we can do anything” feeling we all had during the World Cup. If ever there was a nation good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory that nation is South Africa. Now, barely a month after the final whistle of the World Cup normal service has been resumed. We’ve witnessed the dirtiest BEE deal ever done in the case of Arcelor Mittal with one of the President’s sons suddenly becoming a very rich man without quite understanding how it all came about. One wonders also how much Zuma Jnr knows about the business he is now involved in. Or indeed about business at all. Those of you slaving away at MBA’s might want to think about this for a while. In the future it will be who you know not what you know that guarantees enormous wealth.

We also have to cope with the unedifying spectacle of civil servants on strike. The fact that they are neither civil nor servants makes their claim for a pay rise well in excess of the inflation rate risible. Not that I would want to try and live on what a teacher or a nurse takes home every month; which is why I chose not to become a teacher or a nurse. But it’s one thing to engage in peaceful industrial action (a euphemism for industrial inaction) and quite another to go on the rampage. The stories about patients in government hospitals not being fed, given medication or having their soiled bed linen changed are bad enough. The fact that seriously ill patients are forced to watch as those who should be caring for them go on the rampage through the hospital is what really annoys me.

I’ve only been in hospital once in my adult life and that is when I was shot. It was the superb Milpark Hospital which is, of course, a private hospital. I was pretty helpless and uncomfortable for a couple of days and don’t know what I would have done without the excellent nursing staff. So I can imagine what it must be like to go for 24 hours without nursing care. On top of the fact that you are ill and feeling low anyway, it’s as near to a state of hell as you can get. All of which makes me fear the ANC’s suggestion of one healthcare system for all, irrespective of whether or not you can pay. If that means that we all die in some strike ridden public hospital then full marks for equality but minus 100 for common sense.

It must also be difficult to keep a straight face when you eventually have to confront the teacher you saw on television toyi-toying and trashing premises. Even if there was a modicum of respect before, that would have disappeared for ever. It’s evident that there are some teachers who aren’t particularly interested in getting anything more than a pay cheque every month in return for doing very little. The ANC have said that they will get rid of these people in the past but they never have. Now’s their chance. It might lead to a shortage of teachers in the short term but since they are so useless nobody is going to notice I suspect.

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