I HAVE recently returned from an interesting and adventurous trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe and include an account of some of my experiences. My thanks to Doug Capper for his work on the last edition.
On my return I have received numerous newspaper clippings, Van jokes, letters and I thank all of you - it is a team effort. Some of the articles/jokes will be published in future editions.
Don Bulloch has written a letter identifying some of the difficulties now being experienced in Zimbabwe. The political, financial and general uncertainties now being experienced with the proposed acquisition of land, compensation to the "war veterans" and disability payouts is quite astounding. We can o nly hope that sanity will return.
Eddie Preston sent me an update of the forgotten prisoners of a long past war - Kevin Woods, Michael Smith, Philip Conjwayo and Barry Bawden - in Chikurubi prison. We can only hope that sanity will also return for the proper treatment of them and in the meantime, those people who are able, do as much as possible for them.
Denis Hoyes is now sending me copies of his information "M'dalas Zimbabwe Alert" which he presents at their meeting. I will make active use of this information for future editions.
It was very encouraging to receive other input from the M'dalas and I thank Sheila Moerkerken for submitting a copy of her account on her life in South Africa.
And to continue the thank yous - Several members have made donations to the Association and these funds are gratefully received and will be utilised for the Association's benefit.
Other quiet members who do a lot for the Association include Alastair Honeybun who maintains the internet page and Stewart Milne who takes the photographs at our functions
And Tom Henshaw for his expert typesetting and very welcome assistance to me in my job as editor. And thanks to Doug Capper for holding it all together. The new committee will be elected at the AGM and I thank the rest of the present committee for doing a wonderful job.
Other people who have been in contact with me include Val Botes and Dick Gledhill visiting from Townsville. Being on the committee is rewarding and with the AGM approaching on the Friday 27th February, could members please make the effort to attend, with new committee members particularly welcome.
The Christmas BBQ was well attended by over 80 members and the M'dalas Christmas lunch also very popular. Upcoming events include a joint Champagne breakfast with the South African club on Sunday, March 15 at Point Walter and an outing to Channel 9 and Sizzlers by the M'dalas on 26th February. As I have written before - What you get out is a reflection of what you put in. Keep up the attendances, keep up the input and I wish all of you a Happy New Year.
MDALAS REPORTTHE M'dala's Indaba of 20th November was attended by 47 members and two visitors.
Apologies were noted from several people including Mike Bray who is having a knee joint replacement.
Bill & Dorothy Truran have suffered setbacks in health - we wish them well for a speedy recovery.
Flo Tupman is pleased with her cataract operation and will have the other eye done before Christmas.
Doug Learmonth provided a gift box for men to be raffled which raised $24 and was won by Arthur Hutson.
The chairman referred to an outing being planned to visit Channel 9 studios on February 26th to be followed by lunch at Sizzlers and then to the Perth Mint in the afternoon. Members will be limited to 27 and total cost will be about $26.
The visitors at the November meeting were Chick and Sheila Moerkerken from Pretoria. Sheila was asked to talk on conditions in Pretoria and she gave an excellent and comprehensive report on the current situation in South Africa.
Denis Hoyes was then asked to give a report from recent issues of the Zimbabwe Independent. This was well presented and the up to date news was of great interest to members.
As this was the last meeting of the year the Chairman thanked members for their support with special reference to those who had assumed specific duties.
Ken Mitchell then thanked the Chairman for his work during the year which was greated with applause.
DEATHSWe are sorry to advise of the death of the following M'dalas:
Bill Tully. Our Sympathies are with Sheila
Fred Clifton-Parkes. Our sympathies are with Stella
Betty Gray. Died suddenly in Queensland Our sympathies are with John
$50,000 payouts spark spending spreeFORMER Zimbabwe terrorists whooped it up over the Christmas-New Year period after the Government filled their bank accounts with Z$50,000 each.
The money was part of a payout promise Robert Mugabe made to them late last year after thousands went on the warpath when they learnt that government ministers had plundered a fund set up for them.
By early in January the Government announced that most "registered war veterans" - some 50,000 of them - had received their wads.
Early reports were of the former terrs going on a wild spending spree, delighting shopkeepers, enraging deserted wives and wiping out their fortunes in a number of bizarre ways. Harare shopkeepers were only too pleased to help part the spendthift mob from its rapidly-diminishing folding stuff. Shops were said to have been almost stripped bare of most items before Christmas.
One guy is said to have walked into a supermarket, filled his trolley with frozen chickens and taken them off to the township, presumably to have a massive braai. Another bought a car in the morning, went on the town and got rolling drunk and then wiped out his new pride and joy in a smash in the afternoon.
One irate wife complained she hadn't seen her beloved since the day before the payout. When she checked his bank account two weeks later it contained $15,000. She was spitting chips, saying he'd spent $35,000 on his girlfriends.
To help pay the massive bill, ordinary Zimbabweans were hit with huge increases in prices for foodstuffs early in the New Year. Price rises ranged from 15 to 25 per cent, ensuring that the general populace stays surly and poverty-stricken.
All except the "vets" who will also now receive Z$2000 a month for life.
Land grab 'Animal farmrevisited' says WA senatorWEST Australian Liberal senator Ross Lightfoot has blasted Robert Mugabe's moves to grab Zimbabwe farms. And he has said he will do all he can to help affected farmers "and others" who wish to settle in Western Australia.
Senator Lightfoot assured Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers that they had economic and world opinion on their side in their attempt to fight the racist attack on them by the Mugabe government.
"Far from being a key to social justice and political stability, as claimed by President Mugabe, the attempt to seize 1503 farms - about half the land owned by whites - will cause massive disruption to the economic and social fabric of Zimbabwe. Commercial farmers employ about 350,000 people, representing about a quarter of the total formal sector employment, and the move will cost about 180,000 Africans their jobs."
The Senator said that although 83 of the listed commercial farms were black-owned he was informed that no senior official of the ruling ZANU-PF party was affected. At least four of the six-member committee for land acquisition are commercial farm owners, including Lands Minister, Kumbirai Kangai.
"This is Animal Farm re-visited where some groups are clearly more favoured than others and it makes a mockery of Mr Mugabe's claim of social justice, as it is nothing more than a crude attempt to Africanise land holdings.
"It will not be landless peasants who will benefit but rather political camp followers from ZANU-PF who will be favoured by this naked land-grab."
The Senator said that in a country where unemployment and interest rates were around 33 per cent it did not need a government smashing an industry that earned Zimbabwe $10 billion a year, and replacing it with subsistence farmers who would simply grow enough only for themselves.
"Despite the President's bravado and threats to white farmers, there will be legal challenges and the compensation bill potential would almost certainly cause a currency crisis."
Senator Lightfoot said there could also be reprisals by international investors, the World Bank and aid organisations if this Stalinist move became a reality.
"It is all so unnecessary because the Zimbabwean government is in possession of two million acres of unoccupied land and could gain a similar amount through a willing seller-willing buyer arrangement, something they have been urged to do by the British government and former Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith. The Commercial Farmers Union has also shown a willingness to train Africans as commercial farmers so it is hard to escape the conclusion that this move is simply being used for base political ends to make white farmers the scapegoats for government ineptitude."
Senator Lightfoot said the large contingent of emigres from that part of the world had made a splendid contribution to Australia since settling here.
"I intend to offer any assistance I can to them, and others who are contemplating migrating through the policies of the Zimbabwean government," he said.
Robbed and laid up in hospital but it was great!Editor Clem Barratt recently returned from a long awaited - and as it turned out, eventful - holiday to South Africa and Zimbabwe. He met long lost mates, got robbed in the Cape and ended up in hospital in Zimbabwe. These are his impressions.
I LEFT Perth in the early hours of Tuesday morning and was met by a close friend at Johannesburg International Airport (No longer Jan Smuts).
It was my first visit for over 10 years. It was also my first holiday by myself in 17 years. The road network is still very good but the traffic is heavy and very fast.
I immediately felt the fast pace of life. We drove to Fourways, my home for the next five days. The impact of security was felt - Blocks of houses have sealed off all entrances to the area with iron fences and the one accessible is manned by security guards who monitored all movement of cars and people.
Reaching the house, there are big signs displaying armed immediate response security firm looking after the house. Obviously all yards are security fenced and most have guard dogs.
After entering the yard, the house itself is barred and security alarmed. South Africa is back to its laager. Every day there is a half page of the previous days incidents - murders, rapes, major burglaries - the list is endless.
The prime purpose of my visit was to catch up on old acquaintances . friends, work mates and family. The shopping centres are very good and the range of goods to buy very extensive. I am not much of a shopper but they seem on par if not better than Australia.
Shopping was not high on my list but I was on the look out for CD's by local artists - Four Jacks and a Jill, Barbara Ray, Charles Jacobie, Jody Wayne, Des & Dawn Lindberg etc but most particularly for me Jessica Jones who I used to watch perform at La Boheme many many years ago. I took a bus one morning with Trish, a close friend and caught up with news and gossip on our way to the Lost City where with contacts we were met by a gaming manager who gave us a personal guided tour, lunch etc.
Michael Jackson was using the hotel as his base on his tour of South Africa. It is very impressive and preparations were in hand for the Sun City million dollar golf tournament ( Nick Price won) but one could feel the complex was negatively feeling the change in gaming laws in South Africa as well as the distance from Johannesburg.
I had a braai on the Saturday afternoon when everyone came to visit me, cousins I hadn't seen for 25 years, friends from junior school, my work mates from Salisbury days, my cousin just back from 5 years in Holland etc. Neville my one cousin commented - This must be a wedding or a funeral because generally that is the only time people get together on this basis. But people left early - have to be back before dark - not safe travelling at night.
As a side note there are still lots of European beggars stopping you at traffic lights late at night.
There is a big migration trend to Cape Town. I stayed with my brother and had a Cape Town reunion with my other friends and family there. Cape Town and districts is truly very pretty but unfortunately whilst better than the rand still has security problems.
I had a trip to Stellenbosch where I did the natural thing - drink my wine, have a bite to eat and watch the world go by.
But on the way back to Cape Town, I got the modern version of the South African welcome - a screwdriver to my throat demanding all my money.
I was on the train and a group of Cape Coloureds got on the coach at one stop, robbed the couple of people on the coach and got off at the next. Luckily I had taken precautions and other than my camera lost very little.
That incident did not detract from my holiday and I enjoyed the new Victoria and Alfred waterfront, the drive to Hout Bay, the Clifton beaches, the impressive road on the Chapman's Peak Drive.
I enjoyed the wine at Constantia, I enjoyed going up the new Cable Car, wandering around the top of Table Mountain, looking at the magnificent views, at the dassies, at the squirrels in the gardens and experiencing new restaurants.
All too soon I was on my way to Harare.
KARIBAAN early start and the four of us, my father - also Clem, mother - Marie, aunt - Irene and myself leave Harare at 5.30am.
It is so refreshing smelling and feeling that early morning African atmosphere - even if it is just the city.
We pass the new shopping centre at Bluff Hill (Eastgate), drive on past Gwebi and onto the open road.
It is difficult to ignore the ever expanding high and medium density housing development. But later it was nice to get our first taste of animals, a group of monkeys before Chinoya.
Later we stop and get inundated by the locals as we bought our supply of worms.
The price quickly changed from the original $40 a tin to $20. At Karoi, we stop at Twin Rivers Motel and have a big breakfast in the garden.
Guava juice, Mango Juice, Honey Crunchies, Boerwoers, kidneys on toast etc. $32 Zim each, about $4 Australian at the time.
At Makuti, we stop and pick up Ephraim to make our life easier at Charara. The countryside is surprisingly very green and I always love that downward drive between Makuti and Kariba keeping our eyes open for a first sight of elephant. We turn off the sealed road and take the short dirt road to Charara, drive through the camp and across the causeway to Vundu Vei, our home for the next five days.
A couple of Hippo greeted us in the waters next to the causeway as did a flock of water birds and their young hiding in the Kariba weed - I was in the Africa I love.
I didn't even wait to unpack and I was in the fridge opening my first Castle. The "cottage" is raised on an island and overlooking flat land, where from the veranda I could see two elephant idly walking and eating but also getting deeper in the weed filled water.
I could also see a fish eagle perched on a tree in the distance. My dad and I get on our swimming costumes and walk back along the causeway very carefully as a large flatdog was seen sunning itself there recently.
I just took in the sun, the evidence of the elephants, droppings and torn trees and just to enjoy every single moment. We enjoyed a nice lazy swim at the main camp.
The evenings were just as enjoyable, drinking our beer, having a braai and watching the animals below us where a small waterbuck and a lone hippo had joined the elephant.
We had the obligatory drive along the road adjoining the water's edge (we didn't do the powerline drive this time.) Sadly to me, more and more holiday houses and retirement places are being built in this special place where animals and people come together.
We saw plenty more elephant, herds of impala and water buck, baboons and zebra but missed seeing all the buffalo. Later from the cottage we could see vultures in the distance circling a lion kill of what we presume was a buffalo.
Then there was the small things that jog the memories from childhood - the chongololos ( I can't even spell it), the ant lion holes, the flying ants.
Now for the other highlight, up fairly early one morning, load up the eskies with the supplies and out for the day on the speedboat. Just having the wind blow through my hair, looking out over the horizon and spotting the odd elephant at the water's edge, I am in another world - my paradise.
Later we tie up on a tree and try our luck fishing - not much. All we got was some marumbi (barbel) - (another day we got a few bream) but even so I just loved watching five hippo lazing, cavorting, bellowing a 100 yards away from us, drinking my Castle, enjoying the tranquillity - who could ask for more.
BUT nothing is complete without a little bit of adventure. The engine would not start (problem with the fuel filter) and luckily we were fairly close to land so out with the oars and row to shore.
Then we pulled the boat through the weeds to tie up to a stump. As I had earlier spotted a croc. slide into the water on a small island near where we were, I was not too happy walking in the water but we survived.
Irene and I then trekked in the hot African sun looking at all the animal tracks in the sand along the shore until we reached a houseboat we had spotted earlier.
A group of South Africans on a mens' outing greeted us and promptly told us of the lion in the area. Anyway, we retrieved our boat with their tender and whilst mom and dad were having cold refreshments on the houseboat, with help we got our boat running. They also showed off all the tiger fish they had caught.
One morning we had placed our breakfast on a table on the veranda when a monkey climbed through the window and was pinching some bread in the kitchen but as we all rushed in to chase it out the rest of the troop eyed our food on the table and made a beeline to it.
We just saved our breakfast in time. So arming ourselves with a catty, we finished our breakfast in peace.
The monkeys still watched us but if they got too close all we had to do was touch the catty as they knew from past experience that Irene was a good shot.
The island is surrounded by an electric fence for a good reason. One evening an elephant took a particular fancy and came right up and only the fence separated us.
After much shooing and making noise it departed. Another evening some guests from another house further down the island stayed a little longer than intended having drinks with us. It was quite dark when they left and on the way back they just about walked into a hippo but luckily it was too busy eating.
All good things have to come to an end and on the Tuesday morning, we packed up, secured the cottage and made our way back to Harare and reality - dirty smoking buses, overloaded extremely slow trucks and the speeding often dangerous omnibuses I have recharged my fond memories of the Africa I love.
AVENUES CLINICSaturday morning, early start and my Mom, Dad and aunt Betty got in the car and made our way for a four day stay at Aberfoyle Tea Estate at the top end of the Honde Valley. My leg was hurting and I wasn't feeling too well but as everything had been prepaid and as I believed that after a leisurely drive and a good sleep, I would be well again.
We had breakfast at the halfway house, bought some fruit at Juliasdale and after that interesting drive descending into the Honde Valley arrived at the tea estate at lunch time. I used to audit there 25 years ago and a couple of the waiters recognised me and came to give me their good wishes.
That and other dealings I had make me realise how friendly and good natured the average local black person is and what a shame it is overshadowed by the politics and its ramifications. Anyway, the next morning I was in agony and we had to retrace our steps to Harare. We drove first to the trauma centre in Avondale. The avenues, parts of Avondale and all around the old Andrew Fleming hospital is now full of clinics, private hospitals, nursing homes, chemists, pathology centres etc. I was very impressed with the trauma centre where people who are need of immediate medical treatment are cared for.
I was advised that for my problem - deep vein thrombosis I should go direct to the Avenue Clinic. Within a couple of minutes I was in casualty admittance, on a drip and other medications and very shortly after placed in a high care unit.
It was a Sunday and before full treatment the hospital demanded $18,000. This was standard procedure. Other than that I was more than impressed with my whole treatment, food etc. This was my impression and other people may have had other experiences. I was assigned to the appropriate specialist - a Xhosa, brought up in Bulawayo and completing his appropriate training in the UK.
I was in for 2 weeks and it was enlightening speaking to the nurses, the other patients, observing the doctors and the general hustle and bustle. The nurses were from Buhera, Kadoma, Honde Valley etc, all black except for the senior matrons.
I had no complaints with their standards though obviously I kept a careful monitoring. I did get annoyed when after being asked if I wanted tea at 9pm, I was woken up at 10pm saying my tea was ready. Most of the other patients that came into the ward, I had mutual acquaintances so it was fulfilling to me catching up with the past. One farmer went to school with my mother at Enkeldoorn in 1938 and we talked about the Blignauts, the Wheelers, TJ Englebrecht, Van Rooyens etc from that area.
Another patient's nephew studied accountancy with me, and even some of the blacks were involved. One patient who had lost his leg from a snake bite had visitors who my visitors had been to their wedding and so it went on.
I most certainly felt more at home than I would have done in Australia. There were a lot of cases, particularly the blacks with diabetes- it is another growing medical condition in Africa. I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of young white doctors in addition to the black doctors and inevitably the old names.
I watched MARS (Medical Air Rescue Service) at work. They are largely staffed by whites and the period I was there, they brought in 2 Portuguese with malaria from Mozambique, a young boy from Fort Victoria with asthma in addition to more local people. My sister has an emergency button at home and MARS will arrive shortly after any time it is pressed. In this regard Zimbabwe is up there with Australia.
Luckily I was covered by insurance but even so, the costs were substantially cheaper than Australia.
After a couple of weeks recuperating, I was upgraded to business class and flown back to Perth. My experiences helped me a little to appreciate at grass roots level some of the present day conditions, how our kith and kin are living after 19 years since I left.
Letter to the EditorI received a very interesting letter from Don Bulloch and followed it up with an enlightening conversation. Whilst visitors do go back to Zimbabwe and generally have a good time, the reality of living there is far different and the consequent pressures of Mugabe politics, exchange rates are making it increasingly harder. I personally believe that despite the difficulties, at least in the short term it is a good way of life. Don has highlighted some of the realities and the uncertainties for the future.
You seldom seem to have much room for news of our very sad old country, but I thought you might be interested in the enclosed cuttings . . . sent by my son. Included is a list of the entire gazetted list of 1503 farms and parts of farms, that are to be seized without compensation for land. The list is badly done, with many misspellings, incorrect names etc.
In my old district of Enterprise, 24 of the 56 farms (from memory) are to go. The one article indicates 4 months from 28th December, which is mid-season, which means crops could not be reaped for sale!!!!
Mugabe obviously intends to cause major disruption and stress to all concerned, without any regard to the effect on the economy on his tax base, while at the same time imposing even more taxes and duties on everyone.
Unfortunately my son did not send me a copy of the latest exchange rates but the one article indicates very erratic changes and if all this does go through I will not be at all surprised to see the present rate of Z$20 to pound to Z$40 or worse within the next year.
Many of our friends around the districts are on the list, and as the one article indicates, some of them will end up destitute without a home or an income, and with no right to go anywhere else. What a complete mess - the man has obviously lost his marbles, under pressure from the ex-gooks, now called "war veterans" sic
The article indicates that these farms are "the first to be nationalised" Mugabe spoke at a Zanu conference in Umtali 10 days ago and said he intended to nationalise all 4000 white owned farms - here comes another "Mozambique."
The sad thing that no one mentions is that if each farm had a minimum of 50 employees, each with a family of 4 - 6 x 1500 farms = 500,000 blacks who will be without a home, employment or anywhere else to go. One friend has just written to say that he foresees some extensive civil unrest if Mugabe goes ahead with all this. A large number of other blacks rely heavily on working on a seasonal basis to get the crops in, many of them from the TTLs, so they too will go without any income. I'm also told that the price of mealie meal went up 30%
Regards, DON BULLOCH
LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICAThe following report was made to the M'dalas meeting of the 20th November 1997 by Sheila Van Moerkerken of Pretoria. She previously lived in Bindura for many years where her husband, Chick worked for Shell.
The following report was made to the M'dalas meeting of the 20th November 1997 by Sheila Van Moerkerken of Pretoria. She previously lived in Bindura for many years where her husband, Chick worked for Shell. HAD WE realised, before leaving South Africa, that we would be asked to say a few words about the country, we would have come prepared, with facts and figures etc, but as we have not done so, we can only give a brief overview as we see it.
PRETORIAFirstly, we live in Pretoria and, had anyone told me, when we lived in Rhodesia, that we would some day live in Pretoria, I 'd have said "Don't be ridiculous " that was just a city to be got through on our way to the coast. Pretoria was a very pretty city, with it's jacaranda-lined streets. I say "was" because in many of the streets and certainly those in the city centre, it is almost impossible to walk on the pavements, because of the vendors exhorting you to buy their wares, ranging from vegetables and fruits to handbags, dresses and cheap toys made in Hong Kong.
WHERE WE LIVEFortunately, all this does not effect Chick and I very much as we live outside Pretoria - in the east and never come into the city. Our surroundings are hilly and pretty and we have magnificent shopping centres, hospitals and all the amenities, so there is no need to go into the city. We have a townhouse - what you would call a villa- with quite a large garden and it is completely private. There are only 10 in the complex and we get on well with our neighbours. Chick has a double garage where he can work on his beloved vintage motor cycles.
TRAVELThis year, we have been fortunate enough to travel to Cape Town, twice to Durban, including the Drakensburg, as well as to the Eastern Transvaal - now known as Mpumalanga , and the Kruger National Park. At the end of last year we had a trip to Zimbabwe, where we had a week on a houseboat on Kariba. So you see, we don't just sit around in our retirement.
FAMILYOur children and three grandsons all live fairly close by - our son, his wife and two boys a few kilometers from us, in Pretoria and our daughter, husband and son just outside Johannesburg. We see a lot of them and enjoy our grandsons very much - they want to know how many sleeps before granny and papa get home?
VIOLENCEHowever , there are many changes in South Africa that give cause for concern. First and foremost, there is the terrible violence that takes place daily, which is mainly as a result of the" Lost Generation" of young blacks whose slogan was " Freedom before Education." These people have no qualification whatsoever and have turned to a life of crime. The sentences they receive amount to little more than a slap on the hand. Often they are given bail only to continue their life of crime whilst on bail. In many cases, they escape from prison, or worse still, are released because the prisons cannot accommodate the vast number of prisoners. Thieving is bad enough, but they seem to wish to humiliate or destroy the whites, often raping elderly women and killing parents in front of their children. If they want a car, they just shoot the occupant, drag them out and drive away.
Tourism, which we need so badly, is also suffering, as so many tourists have been mugged for their possessions and in fact, in the centre of Cape Town, tourists are warned not to walk outside their hotels at night and the same applies in Johannesburg.
POLICE FORCEMany members of the police force have been found to be corrupt and many have been killed on duty, so morale is pretty low to say the least. However, Mandela has appointed Meyer Khan to endeavour to sort out the police force , as George Fivaz, the Police Commissioner seems to be pretty ineffectual. As his appointment has only just taken effect, its too early to tell whether or not he has been able to achieve results.
EDUCATIONEducation still seems to be all right, as far as we can see. The grandson in Johannesburg goes to a private school, whilst the eldest of the Pretoria grandsons has just started at the local government school. As it is a fairly affluent suburb and zoning is quite strictly applied, there has not been a huge influx of black children and certainly no bussing from the black suburbs.. When my son bought his house, before Dale could be admitted to the school, he had to produce the transfer documents for the house, proving that he did in fact live in that area. My daughter teaches at Randburg Ridge primary school, which has about 1000 pupils and, once again, though there are some black, indian and coloured children at the school, the classes still have about 3o pupils each, and the standard is still high. I can't talk for the other schools, but probably the same will happen as did in Zimbabwe and people will have to look at sending their children to private schools.
UNIVERSITYWith universities - the blacks want the qualifying entrance exam marks lowered and, when their demands are not met, they trash the university. They've even done this at Wits, which was pretty lefty anyway.
HEALTHWhere health is concerned, the government hospitals are open to all races and, if you are prepared to sit in a queue with the blacks, you will be attended to. There again there are many private hospitals and the whites tend to utilise these (there are three of these within a five mile radius of our house.) The medical aid schemes are battling and we are having to pay more and more. When I worked in the bank, my observation was that the black population ran to the doctor if they sneezed! They also lent their medical aid cards to their friends, so the load on the medical aid schemes is heavy
TRADE UNIONSThe Trade unions, under Sam Shilowa, are pretty militant and are always demanding more money and fewer working hours per week, together with six months maternity leave. Unfortunately with the gold price as low as it presently is, the mines certainly cannot afford to accede to their demands and several mines have had to close down. The nurses have also been on strike, as well as many other sectors of business. Nothing is more irritating than seeing on the TV, these well fed women jumping up and down doing industrial Cha-Cha.
SQUATTERSquatter camps have sprung up in many areas, but the government is trying to contain these. The "legal" squatter camps have even been provided with electricity.
GOVERNMENT EFFORTSIn all fairness, the government has tried to do more for the masses. Running water is being provided to all sorts of remote areas, as well as electricity. Unfortunately, they are battling to get people to pay for such services, as, before independence. The ANC advised people not to pay and - lets face it - they didn't get much to pay for. Now, the government is trying to make people understand how necessary it is to pay their bonds and for services - this is known as Masikhane.
The government has created more clinics and schools for the people, but their moves are not always popular. For instance, they want newly qualified doctors to spend two years in the rural areas and that went down like a lead balloon.
As you can see, there are many problems to be sorted out and - looking at the rest of Africa - one wonders if they ever will be.