“Do SA Unions Know Apartheid Has Ended?” Questions Botswana Prez

cement factoryBusiness Day recently reported that Prez Ian Khama of Botswana was becoming increasingly frustrated by the union activity in South Africa, especially the current strikes at the Port of Durban. Durban is the main port of landing for Botswana and delays there mean delays in Botswana. Botswana is currently exploring the options of using Mozambique and Namibia thereby possibly diverting freight away from the Durban port, thereby reducing the workload, thereby possibly reducing the need for some of the current workforce. Prez Ian Khama is reported as saying “Do South African unions know that apartheid ended in 1994? It would appear not”.

There are many pros and cons to the strike issue: fat cat exploitation by management; huge salaries earned by CEO’s; lack of concern for the workforce; large profit margins; lack of productivity by the workforce; workforce expectation that private companies pay a wage large enough to enable employees to support their large families. Surely it comes down to responsibility?

The corporates have a responsibility to provide a decent wage and safe and decent work environment. The employees surely have a responsibility for their own reproduction activities?

Copyright (C) Sue Charlton 2013

4 thoughts on ““Do SA Unions Know Apartheid Has Ended?” Questions Botswana Prez

  1. I’m not sure if my previous comment went through. Please advise me if it hasn’t and I’ll rewrite it.

    • Hi David, Yes it did. I think the comment about the eye test is racial and stereotypical. We are all sensitive to how descriptive words are used. I mean, if I robbed someone, I would expect to be identified as a white, older, women etc. I think in the latter context it is not always being racial, but possibly because of our history, we are sensitive. Most of the old bad stuff should be dumped in the bin where it belongs (garden boy, house girl, and the like) and those who use such terminology should have it highlighted to them. When it is not meant in a racist manner, I think we need to just to realise we are all different in colour, in shape, in size, culture, eye colour, hair colour, orientatation – I don’t think we all mean to be racist. I have to stand up and say I am white whether I like it or not. Does that make sense?

      • Thank you, Sue. Your reply is helpful. As you rightly point out, an accurate and clear description of any person engaged in criminal activity is essential if that person is to be apprehended. The Star newspaper years ago made the decision not to mention the race of any alleged criminal. This became controversial : many (White) people felt it was a cover-up.
        You are absolutely correct in stating that a lot of us don’t mean to be racist. However, if one has lived in South Africa for many years, there is, unfortunately, a subtle colouring of one’s thinking which I, for one, have to be alert to. In the gym, for example, where I am the only White person training, I rarely give an opinion on any matter political. I feel that Black people have been subservient to White domination for so long that it ill behoves me to stand on my soapbox and pontificate. The positive aspect of this is that I learn what Black people (read “men” in this instance) are thinking – and it’s not all pro-ANC!
        One parting shot … an elderly friend of mine is shockingly racist – I would even say it’s pathological. To give but one example: he believes that Black people don’t have hair but fur. The obvious deduction from that kind of thinking is all too clear.
        Enough, enough! Thank you for your blog. It is stimulating and thought-provoking. I hope my responses are not too long-winded. It’s a joy to be able to exchange views with someone like yourself in a safe space.
        Much love to you and Geordie.

  2. The question needs to be asked of all South Africans. On Friday evening I had members of my family and a friend of Bruce’s, Jaco, to dinner. During the meal Lilian turned to Qhawe and asked if he’d had his eyes tested recently in view of the fact that he now drives. I was puzzled and asked why. She turned to him and said, “All (note the “All”) Black South Africans have an eyesight deficiency and lack depth of field vision and experience peripheral vision problems.” Qhawe replied that his eyes had been tested when he went for his learner’s license. “It’s not enough,” my sister replied.
    I was appalled. How can anyone still hold to these vague racial generalizations? Gallantly Qhawe shrugged it off when I spoke to him later.
    Jaco compounded this sense of dichotomy. He’d met a group of people on the Gautrain who spoke Xhosa (he speaks the language). He said, “I met a group of Black people…” Why not “A group of people”? Later he identified another person , a work colleague, by his race.
    Qhawe and I very rarely mention race, not out of denial but because it doesn’t seem relevant.
    I feel South Africans still have a long way to go before they rid their thinking of stereotypical “boxing” of people, whether on racial or sexual orientation grounds. Very rarely are these categories necessary when talking about others.
    Am I being overly sensitive?

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