Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Still on track

At least bafana bafana are showing a steady progress, it is amazing how a change of coach can do to players. Sometimes it is said players don’t want to play for a coach. I think it was the case with Santana. These players lost 9 out of 10 games under Santana, but under Pereira they have not lost a single game in as many matches. Maybe playing Thailand first was not bad after all. Despite the draw bafana could have won by a bigger margin if they took all their chances against Bulgeria, but Ivanov stuck to Mphela like a glued wood.

Kagiso was oozing with confidence, which is what we want from our player. For a change Teko Modise played well I hope he will build up his confidence from here. As a commentator Cebo Manyaapelo put it, South African are quick to write players off if they don’t see them. Siyabonga Nomvete still has some good touches and speed they the youngsters can envy. Again my player was the unfashionable Thanduyise Kuboni, I must admit that I never thought he would crack it when he was called up. Now seems to be confidant cool and composed under pressure. South Africa needs a player like him not fancy and stylish but very effective.

I am sure Pereira by now is confused as to leave out and who to take. Lance David I consider him a very lucky player, but I think his luck is running out when it matters the most. He has the international experience he is versatile but also the master of non.

He will be very lucky to survive this time, Fransman, Mdledle, Yeye, Ngcagca (I like him though), I am not sure about Benny it does not look like he will make it even though Pereira likes him.

Overall bafana a gelling as a unit that will make them a force to be reckoned with come World cup. We might spring some surprises.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Is it a good thing

So the president took a public HIV test, this was a good PR exercise and so far it worked as everyone even the critics applauded him. This support comes in the backdrop of his predecessor refusing flat to take any HIV test let alone in public. In my opinion the president should not have taken the HIV test in public or announce his results. If he were HIV positive I don’t think he would make the public announcement because of stigma. For him to announce the results won’t help anyone, but what he should have done is to encourage every one to test and keep his or her status secret.

Now that he tested negative wil that not encourage recklessness amongst the rigid traditionalists who don’t believe in this condom thing. We all know he had sex with an HIV infected woman and came out unscathed. This in a twisted way might lead to unintended consequences.  Take someone in a rural village in Matatiele or Makhado who does not subscribe to condom use. What the result of the president is saying to him is that, it does not matter whether you sleep with someone infected with HIV you are not going to get it. You might as well go on and sleep around without a condom after that.

What message did he pass to the layman in the street, who regards him as a hero? Was it a good thing that the president took pupblic test and made results public.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Is Bafana Bafana convincing?

I must say Bafana played well against Thailand they never lost shape even after the introduction of a number of substitutes. 4-0 is flattering, but against Thailand how much can we read out of this?  Should Lesley Sedibe be afraid that his vote of no confidence coupled with R1million Rand per goals scored during World cup would back fire?

I have never heard of Thailand soccer team until I heard they were heading to our shores and SAFA was confident that was not the case. Apparently it is because they were still looking for a credible country. Other countries in our group are getting better oppositions whilst we still playing the likes of Thailand. One caller said to Redi Direko why would an MBA student in his preparation use a Matric question paper. I must admit I laughed out loud thanks goodness I was driving alone.

Health and safety at the work place.

Mining in South Africa is dangerous, this country has got some of the deepest mines in the world and of course the deeper you go the more dangerous mines become. This can be minimised by sticking to the “mining health and safety act,” but no this will affect profit margins. For someone who is working in the metal industry you’ll expect some level of danger as well no work place is completely safe after all. Employers completely disregard this and go as far as locking out the  Labour inspectors from their premises. Employers should provide workers with healthy and safe work environment where they can.

I visited one Eskom plant and I was impressed with the level of safety conscious of alomost all their  workers. At Eskom safety of workers is priority therefore they even celebrate no injury week, month, I think they can't wait  for no disabling injury and death free year (which is not impossible). People still die at work, but at least you can take solace in that they prioritise safety and show that they care. In 2003 I visited Koeberg Nuclear plant and an articulate Carin de Villiers took us through their safety routine I was convinced that they are doing a good job, but that was until I met Leila Mohamed and her team from Earthlife Africa of course. That does not take away the fact that Eskom seem to be caring for its workers.

I wish I can say the same about mining and metal workers, I have just spoke to Puleng Minale a Health and safety organiser from Numsa, he made a good of how employers neglect the safety of workers in pursuit of that extra rand. He says, “ if a worker die the maximum an employer can pay is R100.000, but to keep up Healthy and safety environment to a required level can cost a company anything from R2Million to R4 million.

If an employer have to choose between to make work environment safer or paying for the dead the choice is obvious. They choose to take their chances hoping that no one would be injured or die. If unfortunately someone dies they won’t spend as much as they would spend on health and safety. This sounds sick, but it is reality for workers out there. In South Africa like in the USA Company directors are immune from accountability.  Unions have been calling for Directors to answer in Court if people die at work. Until Directors can be charged for negligence and go to jail, health and safety of workers will always be secondary to them.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

2010 World Cup vs the Poor

When South Africa won the bid to host the world cup South Africans at last felt that the Charles Dempsey injustices of 2004 was now history. 2010 is here and a lot of people are still unemployed and poverty still ravaging the country. What were the  expectations of the working class and workers in relation to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

When South Africa was granted the right to host the FIFA 2010 World Cup it also came with the hopes of job opportunities and poverty alleviation. This was partly the basis upon which South Africa won the bid and indicated in its bid document.

Hope for new jobs in construction, hospitality and informal trading were renewed. Hospitality and informal sectors are mostly dominated by women and this was therefore seen as an opportunity for women to make a better living. Five years later has that materialised? Mainly temporary jobs were created in construction companies but workers were constantly in conflict with management concerning salaries and working conditions. Green point stadium alone was hit by strikes several times, whilst trade unions like COSATU, FEDUSA and BCAWU mobilised more than 70 000 workers to strike for a 13 % percent increase in 2008. Despite this some construction workers are still grateful that at least they got the job.  Simos Maboea a construction worker at the Soccer City Stadium is one of them “2010 have created jobs in South Africa because without 2010 pepople will in the streets with no jobs and skills.”.said Maboea.

Many promises of sustainable jobs and skills transfers to construction workers have been broken in the build-up to the World Cup. Bonuses promised like tickets to World Cup matches have not been honoured. Simon Nyalungu is a 35-year-old construction worker from Limpopo. He was retrenched when Soccer City Stadium in Soweto was finished and lost contact with the employer.   “I use to work in the stadium but now they have kicked us out I am now unemployed. These people promised us Tickets but now that we are outside and out of jobs we don’t know how are we gonna get those tickets”.  The labour movement looked forward to gaining from the Soccer Wold Cup as more people would get new jobs and join unions to protect their rights. In this way the working class would be benefiting through socio economic development. Instead the government committed more than R60 billion to 2010 World cup , but there is no sign of dividends.

Informal traders (street vendors) didn’t escape the wrath of local government and big business. They were harassed week in and week out and even threatened with eviction at places like a 100 year old Howick Market in Durban and FNB stadium in Soweto. Ever since the start of Stadia constructions street vendors on construction sites lived with fear that any time they could be evicted.

The latest threat was aimed at Soccer city Traders when Jo’burg city sent someone to let them know they are not wanted in February 2010. On the eve of 100 days celebrations Pat Horn of street net lamented the fact that FIFA drives South African soccer culture away from the stadiums “We want to see African street culture, music and indigenous food, the ‘shisa nyama’, informal traders, as an integral part of a visitor’s experience of South Africa,” she said.

Levels of poverty and unemployment are critically high in South Africa, with 25 million South Africans living UNDER the poverty line. Experts estimate that South Africa has spent R20 billion of taxpayer’s money, some expert’s estimate as high as R63 billion! The 2010 Soccer Wold Cup was seen as an easy way of easing the intensification of poverty and unemployment. With billions of Rands spent on this event, should the working class have to celebrate on Mayday when we salute the gains of workers?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Gangster's Paradise

I think fighting crime in South Africa is a non-starter. I was shocked to hear that a hit man called the police after killing Lolly Jackson. Initially I thought he used 10111, but later it appeared that he called a cell phone not of an ordinary policeman or woman, but that of a Police Commissioner. I am sure law abiding citizens don’t have that privilege. Why criminals have the numbers of the most important people on crime prevention. The commissioner made some lame excuses saying he didn’t even remember the guy. I think crime intelligence is taking the people of this country for a ride. How do they keep hardened criminals in their spy profiles?

After the killing of Brett Keble the same thing happened Glen Agglioti who later confessed about the so called assisted suicide called the then Police commissioner Jackie Selebi. Their story is now everyones knowledge. The police are not forthcoming with the information surrounding loly Jackson’s murder, you asked yourself why.
They even hide the fact that Jackson’s Car was found, why?
Criminals used to live in the under world, but not anymore. Your everyday world is now intertwined with the underworld you don’t know who to trust anymore. Scary is it?

What did you celebrate on Freedom day?

I don’t subscribe to Motsoko Pheko’s ideas but I think the ANC leadership after reading his comment (Mail and Guardian 23 April 2010) they should pause and reflect on this so called freedom.
Pheko wrote
“27April this year gives this nation the opportunity to reflect on the journey to freedom that has been abandoned for ferry –tale destination. The burning of tyres and blocking of roads all over the country is a signal that something must be corrected before it is too late.”

He says, in South Africa most unemployed people are Africans. The poorest people are African. People who live in squalid inhuman settlements are Africans. These inhuman settlements often burn or flood, destroying lives and property. The least equipped hospitals and clinics are those that serve Africans.
The Worst or not roads are where Africans live. The least educated and skilled people in South Africa are Africans. People who have no money for education and are being educated in the lowest numbers are Africans…. yet billions of rands buy land and servicing the apartheid debt.

Nothing that Pheko said is new but we are so blind to see reality that we even defend fraudsters just because they happened to share the same skin colour as us. Shame on us!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Road accidents in SA

Death is all around us, but there is no better plays to witness this than in South African roads.28 people died in one accident in the Western Cape, apparently because of greed. The bus had more passengers that it was suppose to carry. South African roads are the most dangerous in the world yet our government is so modest in response.

 This latest accident won’t be recorded properly in our minds as it doesn’t fall on the pick times where we are updated daily. According to Arrive Alive website between 2001 and 2008 staggering 203,057 people died on our roads.

What is even more worrying is that the number seems to be rising every year. In 2001, 11,201 people died and in 2008 14, 419 people died. It is important to note that between 2008 and 2010 the number might be frightening despite the well-publicised decrease in fatalities over the Easter weekend.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Justice delayed is justice denied

I had just spoken to a lady of the night talking about sex work and 2010 less than an hour ago. But what struck me is what we discussed off the record. She said that she can't see her child, she can't go to her kasi(township) Mzimhlophe everyone is calling her names. All this is because Etv put her face on TV without her consent on 3rd degree, their flagship investigative programme. Asking for a recourse she claims Etv just scribbled on a piece of paper an apology. She felt insulted, cheated and humiliated and left their office without accepting their apology.

She felt that ETV had to pay her for using her face on their programme without her consent. Etv she says, “Ruined my life sengisaba nokuya ekasi” (I’m even afraid to go to my township. “I can’t face my family and now they taken my child told her I am bad” is her words as she sits stone faced on the other side of the table. I didn’t have words to console her especially now that even Tshwaranang, which is handling her case, is not calling any more.

Even though she feels that she has a strong case on human dignity and invasion of her privacy she is scared to push Tshwarang too hard in case they drop her without justice being meted out to Etv. Her case was referred to High court around March in 2009, a year later she has never heard anything despite the fact that she has never changed her number. In a nutshell this is what big cooperates do to those they deem useless and can’t fight them. We didn’t meet for this,  but I felt that it couldn’t be right that someone who works, as a prostitute should be humiliated like this. If you are a lawyer and you think you can help her leave a comment and your contact details on this blog.