Thursday, June 14, 2007


the public sector is presently engaged in industrial action. the state is offering 6% wage increase and the unions are demanding 12%. the whole thing is interesting on many levels.

firstly, having worked in the state sector recently (and still being very involved) i do feel that they are paid too little and something closer to 12% is more acceptable than 6%. but, having said this, i find it difficult to justify the nurses striking and the fact that the entire state health care has been crippled. the unions have actually said they want to close all hospitals and clinics to force the government to relent.

the question i ask is who suffers? all state employees are required to have medical aid, so all the strikers can get medical help during the strike if they need it. the people who suffer are those who don't have jobs or medical aid and rely on the state hospitals for help. the true lower class. i was at the state hospital here in nelspruit on tuesday. the normal lists were cancelled (including a mastectomy for cancer) and only emergencies were being done. wards were empty and even locked. only skeleton staff were working to handle emergencies. the strikers were toiytoiying outside the main hospital gates.

i read somewhere that 30 people have died as a result of the strike in our hospital so far. how many in the entire country?

on one of my posts a commentator spoke about dying for a cause. everyone likes to believe they are willing to die for a cause if it is good enough. but are you willing to kill for a cause. some causes maybe do need killing for. kill the enemy or kill the suppressor etc. but to cause the death of the poorest eschelons of society for 12%??? i just don't know if it's worth it.

life is cheap in africa, but it is always someone else's life that hangs in the ballance. the pawns are thrown onto the bayonettes so the kings can have a better raise in salary.


Anonymous said...

(Your picture has many interesting conotations) I think it's inexcusable to let innocent people die for any cause. I sympathise with the public sector workers and do believe that they are underpaid, but they have gone too far by intimidating nurses to strike and attempting to close down hospitals and clinics. I have mixed feelings about what should happen. This is a democracy and the government should listen when its citizens speak out and as they are the elected representatives, it should be the duty of the politicians to carry out the wishes of the citizens - and with politicians getting paid as much as they do i find it hard to believe that the increase the public sector workers are asking for cannot be budgeted for - but i also don't think that this sort of exessively violent and inexcusable behaviour should be rewarded.

Bongi said...

come on amanzimtoti (schweet name by the way) intimidation is the south african way. also you put it in a way that implies that nurses are striking only because they have been intimidated to do so. some have, yes. but most are striking for strike sake. i laughed when i heard old geraldine on the news saying the government can't understand why they are still striking. the politicians never turn down extravagant raises so i'm not too sure what it is she can't understand. i wonder if there will be less money to embezzle. call me cynical, but i think i have seen enough political floundering to justify my cynicism

Tracey said...

I am a middle-class SA white woman raising two children on her own and can't afford medical aid. (I am not crying foul here; at least I do nominally own my own house even if the bank still holds 80% of it in a bond; and I have a car -- a 1993 Golf with worn tyres that often doesn't start in the mornings.) I have followed the strike with horror and wondered what I'd do if one of my kids needed emergency medical attention and died because it wasn't available because nurses aren't paid enough. These are also the people who are educating my children and equipping them to take our country into the future, and generally they're doing a great job. It's so easy: spend less on Jacob Zuma's birthday cake and private government travel (among copious other things) and pay the people who underpin our country's future what they deserve. It's not even as if they want anything outrageous -- just a living wage. We in South Africa have come so far, and relied so much on understanding and empathy. Why is it stopping now?

Bongi said...

a few points from a sceptic. come now, money for extravagant parties for politicians is far more important in this country than the mere lives of her citizens. medical aid is crucial and you should look into getting it. the government does not care about your kids getting into an emergency and would not bat an eyelid if they died. if you followed my blog you would see that i speak from a point of knowledge.