Thursday, July 26, 2012

Literacy not required but Government to get 5% more

Dear South African Voters,
        Where in the world can you get a part-time job next to the beach that pays nearly R30 000 a month or R350 000 a year for only 20 hours work a week?
         Now they are expected to get a 5% increase.  
          Where can you get such a plumb job without being able to read or write?         
          In South Africa where else? And in picturesque Cape Town what’s more.
          Would you lend your car to somebody without a driving licence? Well that’s exactly what you voters are doing to our country. No wonder it’s in the ditch more often than not and the stage is fast approaching when there won’t be enough money to haul it out even for its scrap value.
          Sadly these words are wasted on a lot of you.
        Sadder still this is the deplorable standard we set for those who govern us.
          No wonder the African National Congress Government is not bothered about the edikasion sistam being in shimbles because with these kind of salaries who worries about schooling.
          We are a third, going on a fourth or fifth-world country with a population of 50-million.
          There are 400 members of Parliament. MPs get R800 000 a year while President Jacob Zuma and his bloated Cabinet get double that or more while at least a third of the adult population have no salary at all. Zuma’s standard of education is a State secret and who knows how many MPs would get a job anywhere else.
           Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the Mother of the nation proves the point. Flights to the moon occur more often than her appearances in the House.
          India, which has a population of more than a billion with around 200-million people in the A Income Group, has just over 800 MPs. Most of our A Income Group earners are in Government somewhere filling their boots.
          As the local government elections are coming up in South Africa it’s appropriate to talk about Councils. Take Cape Town, the only City controlled by the Democratic Alliance, as an example.
          It has 210 of these overpaid Councillors – more than half the number of the MPs who run the entire country - getting those salaries I mentioned to begin with. And the population is a mere 3-million.
          Tammy Petersen’s story in the Peoples Post opened my eyes to the way the spending splurge doesn’t end with ordinary Councillors. There’s the Mayor on over a million a year; his deputy taking home R789 355 and Mayoral Committee members and  sub-council chairmen each being paid R741 143. And there are 33 of these jackpot winners.
          And even some of these high rollers who are full-time employees can get permission to supplement their pittance by taking another job. That tells you just how diligently you have to work in a bureaucracy.
          A similar scenario is repeated at councils that are there to be plundered up and down the country. ANC supporters are fighting each other to be nominated for one of these, money for jam jobs where nobody has to account for anything.
           The country's Auditor-General's report for 2010/2011 gave a clean audit to a mere 13 of the 283 councils.. That's how bad it has got.
           It’s as though there’s been a gold strike and everybody is rushing to stake their claim. You don’t have to be educated to do that either.
        Literacy is a touchy subject. No wonder because all of our rulers should be deeply ashamed of the present situation.
          When I asked Alderman Dirk Smit (Salary R789 355) Cape Town’s Speaker (he’s there, I think, to make sure everybody behaves themselves) if you had to be able to read and write to be a Councillor his first response was "See Constitution." I asked his PA: "Surely the Speaker can give me the answer off the cuff." He came back through her saying it’s not a "Yes"or "No" answer.
          This was followed by a letter in which he referred to Section 158 and 47 of the country's Constitution to be read with Section 21 of the Local Government Structures Act no 117 of 1998 which sets out the qualifications required to be a Councillor.
          "You will note," he went on,"that there are no restrictions or prohibitions relating to literacy for Councillors and the legislation referred to is silent on this matter."         
          That’s the longest "No" I’ve ever heard. Heaven help us if every Councillor answers a simple question in this long winded fashion. Is that why they get paid such huge salaries?                             
          Not surprisingly the money’s running out. The Times reported that 20 ANC run municipalities have gone bankrupt; 30 ratepayer groups have refused to pay something like R10-million in rates and taxes because their basic services are collapsing.
       Realistically all that South Africa needs is a Parliament of 50 and Cape Town and all the other cities should have no more than 30 Councillors with the smaller places having proportionally less.
          Whatever party our rulers belong to you won’t hear even a whisper among any of them suggesting that we have far more MPs and Councillors than we can afford at prices that are ludicrous.
          WAKE UP! Can’t you see your taxpayer’s money is going down the drain faster than the sewage at a lot of municipalities? And the stink can be smelt internationally.
          Tearfully yours,
          Jon, Member of the Packing for Perth Party.
Note: This was first posted  on 31/5/2011 but I have updated it slightly as the 5% salary increase has been proposed.

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