The Straw that broke the Camel’s back

The Straw that broke the Camel’s back

A lot can be said about South Africa, her history and her people, some of it good, some of it bad, depending on how you want to view life.

But what can be said about her people is the amount of patience they have and ability to pull together when times are rough.

In a sense, one has to explain the backdrop of what I am speaking about, and one must stare the realities of the past in the face, confront it, work around it, as not to be haunted by it in the future.

For years South Africa has suffered the biggest failure of Imperialism, and that is to build your empire on top of the ashes of bones of a broken communities of people.

Imperialism, driven by the human “Greed Gene” has been the cause of great conflicts, but also great advancement, and one should already remember it in such a way.  The problem lies in the fact that someone need to do the work, and not all is really willing to work for it.

This Empire wanted the minerals in the soil of South Africa, and this also brought about a South African Genocide which few really remember these days, home and abroad.

This Empire also imparted the gift of Segregation Laws on us through a man called Sir Milner, and he and fellow imperialistic figures like Rhodes made sure that they would have “slave labour” to do their bidding.

This brought about the Apartheid State of South Africa which should also not be forgotten, because forgetting about your past is a sure way to repeat the mistakes you suffered in the past.

It brought great advancements in technology, healthcare, civil order and structure, but, it was broken.

Because all of these advancements were achieved on the backs of millions who didn’t benefit from these advancements or the money they generated.

These Segregation Laws revamped into the form we called Apartheid created the gap, a rift, which made terms like “middle class” and “lower class” acceptable.  It also created the situation where we are now sitting in, even after a Government change.

Now this is not the blame game, this is realty, and we need to confront it and move on.

There are two simple facts that one should face and that is

  • Government is dividing the people successfully by polarizing the groups in opposition with each other.  Fueling racial tension causing rifts with good policies which got badly implemented like AA and BEE. Creating strive between the different income groups, as well as racial groups.

    This in turn left  them up to their own devices and extra time to line their own pockets while we were busy fighting each other.

  • That even though everyone has said it a million times before, and even though most might be tired of hearing it, but that Apartheid had a massive role to play in this tragedy, because of the legacy of “Greed” it left behind in Corporate companies like Lonmin, and crafty State sponsored entrepreneurs in Government like Zuma who enriched themselves at the cost of the many.

The reason one must face this, it to understand how patient the people of South Africa really are.  After all of these years, nobody is really free.  We are all still slaves on a tax making machine for Government, but just divided along “class” lines more than racial lines.

Taxes which are supposed to be used to uplift the people, but are now siphoned off into the pockets of Corporate elite, dirty politicians who pay lip service and Government “Officials” (at some stage they manged to change the title from Public Servant” to Government Official without us even noticing)

These taxes do not only affect the middle income group, they also affect the low income group, and the unemployed.  Taxes like E-Tolls, which is one of but many such little surprise packages we found out about.  Who knows what we are yet to learn?

The problem is, that Government dealings are not transparent and nobody is accountable,  and the political parties who make up Government are also not really transparent, as they don’t reveal their party funding so that one can sniff out the rot of corruption even before it starts.

But now, the patience of the people of South Africa is wearing thin, and the emergence of a Civil Social Movement is on the grow, small communities are linking up and standing in solidarity with each other, united against a common threat to national security like the blatant corruption of Government “Officials” and asking questions about where all the money has gone.

Dodgy dealings which have surfaced in the last couple of years have created a platforms for people of all different groups in South African where they can pull together.  Pressing issues like unemployment, poverty, inflation, service delivery protests (Andries Tatane), wage related issues like Marikana (with Government ties),  Nkandla, WC2010, Armsgate and other scandals like GuptaGate and their kickbacks to Government and failures like Eskom has for once done something amazing, it has created an environment for Civil Movement Groups to grow, because people have seen that Politics is just about that, politicking and not really doing something about the problems.

Groups now have a chance to stand together, against a common enemy, The Corruption and Decay in Government.  People like Steve, Vavi and Rob can sit around the table and talk the same language, but first, for that to happen, we must start caring about each other again.  We must find our humanity and our empathy for each other and each others plight.

The Struggle is far from over, it has only yet begun.  Because we need to struggle against our Greed gene, which would allow for situations like this to come about, we need to struggle against putting ourselves ahead of those around us, because if the community is prosperous, the individual is prosperous.

A luta continua

Violent Strikes in the South African Agricultural Sector, why and what will be the outcome?

South Africa is a country with great potential and with a unique and diverse culture.  It is the only country in the World where the minority ruled over the majority with an Iron Fist until 1994, and although this was not something which was born in South Africa self, it was a policy which was thought out and implemented by the then colonizers of Africa, the British under Lord Milner, it did leave us with a unique situation.

A unique symbiotic relationship developed between the two major ethical groups in South Africa, to the point where neither group can function properly without the other group, and this is not to say that one group should preside in the Master role and the other in the Slave role, because we are all equal, despite what most right wing commentators would say.  The only difference between the “Masters” and the “Slaves” was, and is still the level of education.  This is not a matter of opinion, but rather a simple fact which everyone who is honest with himself would agree upon.

Lately though, South Africa has been plagued by violent protests throughout all the major sectors of the economy.

The transport, mining, agriculture industry and service delivery strikes were the most prominent and made it onto the headlines of News24 every single day, even while the top brass in the ANC were spending millions of taxpayer money on their party celebrations over December.

Because there are just too many strings to follow and to discuss, and because I want to keep this short and sweet I will only give my thoughts on the violent strikes and protests we observed within the agricultural sector, and I am not going to pussy foot around the subject.

The ANC led Government has had “control” over South Africa for the last 18 years and yet the majority of our countrymen are still living in absolute poverty.  The reason Malema was such a threat to the ANC “regime” was because he was speaking the truth when he said that Freedom doesn’t mean anything without economic emancipation, albeit it that he had a very poorly thought out plan of Nationalization to deal with the issue at hand.

He was a threat to the political scavenger elite who are currently running the country, and though everyone knows that nearly everyone in a Government position has his hand down the cookie jar in some form or another he was allowed this “benefit” until he turned on his Master whom he was willing to protect and give his life for, Jacob Zuma.  After this his political career was crushed and now SARS is picking clean the bones of his sorry carcass.

But let’s leave that for there now and focus on the violent strikes in the agricultural sector.

So the farm workers were complaining about earning R65 a day … to put that into perspective … 2L of milk costs R20, a bread costs R5, taxi fare, depending on how far you are from your place of work is R15 if you are within a 30km radius, and then somewhere in between you must still put a little away for a rainy day?

Of course these workers have reason to be pissed off, the cost of living is rising, they mostly have no running water nor electricity, no formal schooling, and yet everyone around them are pocketing it big time, from their perspective while they are struggling to put clothes on the backs of their children, while they suffer to make enough money to feed their children.

R65 a day is nothing in the bigger scheme of things, especially when your “Baas” quickly jumps in his luxury 4 x 4 Toyota bakkie and drives off to the Pick & Pay, grabs some braaivleis and 12 ice cold Black Labels for the rugby.

This is not only true for the Agricultural sector, but everywhere.  The reason I know this is because I take the time to speak to those less fortunate than myself, those who were, and are still part of the “previously disadvantaged” of South Africa, the poorest of the poor.

Though, this might not always be fact, it remains the perception out there, and we have to work together to change the perception.

I know a couple of farmers personally, of whom I can only say good things, they provide for their workers, they build houses for them, they make sure they have running water, electricity, they give them food, and they even share their ice cold Black Labels with their workers, but this is certainly not what is happening as a rule of thumb, and this is where our problem really arises.

White South Africans  are too LAZY and they consider it beneath them to do manual labor  because that is a “kaffir’s” job.

Because of this, the South African system has always relied on cheap, unschooled laborers for these types of jobs, and although we share a unique symbiosis it does not mean that we have to enrich ourselves at the cost of our countrymen.

These laborers are trapped in a never ending struggle for survival where they work to survive, and survive to work, a never ending cycle with no hope of getting out of this closed loop system.

In no World is this fair towards anyone … I challenge those of you who are privileged enough to be reading this, not because I think this is a great opinion, but because you are privileged enough to be sitting down on your ass behind a computer, most likely in a air-conditioned office, with your fingertips on a keyboard, from where you can access any information you want to imagine yourself in the shoes of those laborers.

You would too do anything to provide for your families, to provide the very basics, which the South African Constitution “claims” your are entitled to as the very basic of human rights, the right to education, the right to a decent standard of living, the right to running water.  You would also burn the country if your perception is that you are suffering in the sun while the “Baas” can do what he wants, because he not only has freedom, but he is free from the financial constraints which is hampering you to better your existence, and to start designing a life.

The ANC led Government refuses to acknowledge the fact that Farm Murders, which are some of the most horrific murders in the history of South Africa are hate crimes, because if they do, then they will acknowledge their failure as a governing party. It is part and parcel of this perception which is out there and because of the deliberate “racial” divide which they keep on promoting from within governmental rallies and speeches, and this only compounds the dilemma we are sitting with, and this puts the whole country at risk of being destabilized.

They (the Government) are not forthcoming with ideas on how to address the problem, and I guess they are hoping that the flimsy stitches of this “Rainbow Nation” will stay in place for a bit longer while they loot the State coffers.  Not once have Government offered the farmers some sort of tax break if they up the daily wages of these laborers  because let’s face it, the farmers, are not all the filthy rich bastard “Boere” who do not care for the fellow countrymen, no, a lot of them are suffering under the economic pressures of our time with the operational costs of running the farm skyrocketing because of failed policies implemented by Government which causes havoc in our local economy.

In my heart I want to believe that, if they could, they would pay their laborers a decent daily wage, but I know that is idealistic, and there should be measures put in place to ensure those types of wages if it is possible from the farmer’s side.

There are so many factors which can change the ebb and flow of this situation, and I am just a spectator on the side, but one thing I know for certain is this.

If we don’t all try and work together and start looking out for Government, then we will all be chewed up and swallowed by the Monster which is governing our country, because if all the farmers leave, what will be left but barren earth … how will we feed our loved ones?

Coincidentally I saw a poster which read “If there is no more food the poor will be forced to eat the rich” … scary thought?  Well, just ask the Pygmies in the Congo is this is so far fetched or not.

If this continues we will be facing a real civil war, and although I know there are those of us who believe that this is the only solution to our problem, I put this to you, it’s easier to destroy then to build, and with the destruction we only put ourselves back 18 years at the very least … and we will be spitting on the graves of those who have died in the last 18 years, we will be robbing future generations of hope, we will leave behind a legacy which I would rather not be part of.

I implore you, the reader, to get actively involved, to put aside your personal feelings of hate and mistrust and to try and work together, if not for you, but for your children, and their children.

The whole World is waiting like vultures, for the spoils of war, so let’s not give them the satisfaction of failing, let’s work together and fix this.