Saturday, November 11, 2006

the paradox that is mpumalanga

recently there was an audit of how many state specialist posts were vacant in south africa. mpumalanga fared the worst. 86% of all specialist posts lay empty. there was only one registered surgeon working for the state in the province and he didn't work in the capital, nelspruit. it therefore was not surprising that they actively canvassed for three recently qualified surgeons to work there, two in nelspruit and one in witbank. i was the witbank candidate. the administration held interviews, made promises and generally seemed excited at the prospect of increasing their surgeon numbers from one to four.
and then we waited. my one colleague finally phoned the admin people in nelspruit to remind them he needed to know if and when he was to start. they didn't know. he told them they were messing him around and found work elsewhere. my second colleague soon followed suit. i then phoned them. no help was forthcoming. i have always felt i want to work for the state where i feel the need is greater, so i wasn't going to give up so soon. i suggested that i start working and we can sort out the paper work later in the month. the administrative contact in nelspruit seemed excited at this prospect and so this is what i did. little did i realise they saw this as the perfect opportunity to do nothing. and that is exactly what they did. (i must admit they did it very well. they have had plenty of experience)
i remained in this state of limbo for just over 4 months. it took them that long to get the paper work through!!! they are not serious about filling their posts, that's for sure. i think any other of my colleagues would long ago have raised the middle finger in salute to their total ineptitude. that makes me all the more irritated. it feels that they saw my goodwill as weakness and took advantage of it.

another thing that compounded the insult and the financial difficulty i developed was how they dealt with certain promises they had made right in the interview phase of it all. because i would be moving to a new town they promised to pay my first three month's rent. when i approacher the ceo (chief executive officer, otherwise known as the boss) to simply sign the relevant forms (i sign my name quite quickly so i mistakenly assumed she would not have difficulty signing hers) she told me to place them on her desk and she would get to them. i did. thereafter i went daily to her office to retrieve the forms. each day i was met with the story that she hadn't done it yet (the spelling of her name was quite tricky i admit so maybe she was getting up courage to face that) it finally culminated in her being given 24 hours to leave her office by the head of department in nelspruit because of some political difference they had. in mpumalanga to be fired usually means you were fairly efficient and that you are showing up your colleagues for their laziness. anyway, as she left her office on the last day i was standing there. she brushed me off. some financial clerk who was with her laughed at me. i considered punching him, but decided against it.
despite all this i resolutely decided to stick it out because i truly believe i'm needed it the province.

the next bit of madness from our bureaucrats was a unilateral decision to only pay 25% of our rates when we do overtime. some places in the world pay more than the going rate for overtime, which in our line of work is obviously night work. not in our country. no, they pay less. strange??? the result of this is no surgical cover in the state sector in the entire province on most nights. do the bureaucrats care? not in the least. they have medical aid so they're ok. who cares about the poor anyway???

so if you are in our province make sure your medical aid is fully paid up. otherwise don't gat into any trouble. when you drive past the signs that say hijacking hotspot, don't stop to take a picture. you may get a lead pill and they you're really screwed.

1 comment:

Craig Taverner said...

There are not many places that pay less for overtime, but when it happens it is generally referred to as 'slavery'. Of course the fact that you are not paid at all removes any remaining ambiguity.