A blog covering life and happenings in Cape Town

Monday, May 02, 2005

The new cultures in South Africa

With the advent of our new government in 1994 things in South Africa began to change.

At first people got freedom of movement.

Where they were previously restricted to certain areas they can go anywhere now, so thousands head for Cape Town every month.

The second thing that happened after the apartheid regime disappeared was that a new pecking order for jobs was introduced. ie African males first!

Everybody else to follow in line as stipulated.

Then it was the turn of affirmative action to be introduced and most jobs advertised were designated AA which meant that only African people could apply.

Many jobs were given to people who had no clue as to how to do them, just so that companies could meet their AA targets.

Somehow many of the people employed in this manner knew how to steal, and boy have they done that!

The number of scams over the last few years that have been highlighted in the press make interesting reading.

Unfortunately many of the people involved in them have managed to pocket millions of taxpayers money and get away with it.

Back when the Nats were in charge there was the odd scam but these days there is just about one a day.

It appears that SA has adopted a system similar to that of the USA where every little matter ends up in court.

Lawyers do not chase ambulances here, but, some certainly know how to defraud the accident fund and the victims of road accidents.

A number of lawyers are behind bars for helping themselves instead of the victims.

With the advent of the new government all sorts of changes to the education system were made.

If you listen to teachers you will find that they are not in favour of most of them.

Where does all this leave the students.

In my opinion most of them are given an inferior school education as the rule states that no one should fail, so learners think that it is not necessary to work.

If someone manages to fail the poor teachers have to write a book as to the reasons why the person failed and why he/she should not be passed.

Another carry over from the apartheid era is that everything should be free.

During that period jobs were scarce for African people, so much of what they got was given to them. (Not a hell of a lot either)

The unfortunate part of all this is that people still think that everything must come on a plate today.

Jobs are there to be abused.

The boss does not have many rights these days.

As far as the worker is concerned he can arrive at any time, do as little as possible and expect to put out his hand for his salary at the end of the month.

In my day it was your responsibility to get to work on time and beware if you turned up late.

You had the riot act read to you.

These days, there is always an excuse, normally the taxis or bus drivers are on strike so the employee cannot get to work.

Once or twice a year I can accept that argument, but not every day.

Here in SA the movie industry is growing and many “extra“
jobs are available to those who take the time and effort to register.

One extra I know has to use public transport to get to the meeting points which are at out of the way places and at odd times, sometimes 3.00 a m in the morning.

He leaves home early using public transport and makes his way to the nearest police station where he asks if he can sleep on the waiting room bench.

That's what I call devoted to duty and if people in SA would have that type of dedication things would get better faster than they are doing today.

An instance I experienced today with a labourer I employed is just the way it is here.

He should have arrived at 8.00 a m, and did not.

He never phoned to say he was going to be late and when I phoned to find out where he was, was told that he had a problem and was not going to get to work at all.

I started my project by myself and at 1.30 pm he arrived.

The only good thing was that he actually made the effort.


I told him that I no longer needed his services and that he should go home.

His reply was to ask me for his bus fare.

I won't repeat what I told him to do, but decided, that if I must pay him he might as well work for the money I would give him.

It's going to take a long time for us South Africans to get used to the new and sometimes strange cultures we are faced with.

Geoff Fairman



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