As I sit back in my comfortable armchair and look over the state of the country and what has and has not happened since I last did my annual report I have decided to title myself with the royal 'We' as with great certainty we feel that many South Africans will have the same sentiments as we do.
The main problem, in many minds, facing the country is the high un-employment situation, to deal with this we have to have a long hard look at many different facets to work out why this is not improving.
Firstly:- many companies are not happy to hire new staff or increase their staff numbers due to the labour laws which place the employer in the position of finding it very difficult to dismiss staff who are not working to standard, are caught stealing, drinking alcohol at work, arriving late regularly and such things that so easily can cause a company to get get into trouble, not only from the financial side but can allow a precarious situation to develop where workers will thoughtlessly decide to increase scrap rates or work slowly to get their point across.
There seems to be a brain drain with highly skilled people leaving the country for richer pastures overseas. The lack of skilled artisans needs to be more than addressed, at this moment there is a large gap between the skilled artisan and the floor worker. Colleges and schools should be encouraging pupils to take up a trade rather than look for a university degree. There is no shame in being a tradesman and when we think about it, as in the fifties and sixties a trade was a good solid job to have and in most cases apprentices are paid while they learn. This will also help bring down imports as we would then be able to produce more goods and be more self-sufficient.
South Africans need to learn to be proud of holding a job, here the Japanese are a good example, when one is earning a wage or salary one earns dignity with it.
The minimum wage is too high for many prospective employers to afford and they therefore often expect more output from those already in their employ rather than hiring new hands.
Education is another point that need to be examined, the standard seems to drop year by year and it would seem that teachers are doing very little to encourage children to want to learn and improve their minds. Perhaps we should look at the first five years of education being taught in a child's mother tongue with English as a second language. We are taking so much away from many children due to the fact that no matter how bright and intelligent they are, they still have to learn a new language before their skills and intelligence will come to light.
Health care is, so to speak, another sore point, private hospitals are blatantly robbing the medical aids and patients with high tariff rates and often ordering test to be done more for the reason of making money than the tests are really needed. The government medical services are slow and the hospitals are not being run as cleanly and well staffed as they should be. Food in all hospitals public and private appears to be of the lowest standard with no thought as to the special needs patients such as diabetics.
Salaries here are obviously a main point and the government needs to look into increasing salaries for nurses and doctors. When salaries are so high for members of parliament and so much money is wasted on non-essential jobs in governmental departments, then perhaps cutting down in these departments and increasing nurses and doctors salaries to an acceptable level would surely encourage youngsters to look towards hospitals and clinics for careers.
The more skilled labour a country has the more money there is to go around and as salaries increase so, in turn will jobs increase.
Our final point must deal with the terrifyingly high crime rate that South Africans are having to live with. This applies to all crime from the very top, governmental departments and ministers need to show more concern over bribe taking and coming clean with many facts and figures. Theft, murder and rape are common occurrences country wide and with a somewhat corrupt police force many are not willing to lay charges when they can easily identify the criminals.
As with normal housekeeping trends we need to start fighting crime of any sort from the top and work down to the petty criminals. All criminals should be held accountable for their actions and should have to pay the price for their crimes.
South Africans so love belonging to the rainbow nation of the world and when we watch the public mingling and integrating with each other we see much to hope for.
Why we therefore ask, do those that represent political parties, and the major leading companies, not set the example and stop bringing racial and religious hatred into the everyday running of the country?
Enough of BEE and discrimination, let each one of us stand up for what we truly are and prove to each other that together we can work for the betterment of all citizens.
Besides that and falling into pot-holes, high electricity increases and a sad lack of good public transport we shall continue to dodge the holes, turn off the lights and walk whenever we can.
I wonder if Presidentwill read this, I hope so!