I always thought that I am unlucky maybe because I am black in the world that favours pale. but now I have realised that actually I am one of those who are lucky, I have a job, and I have roof over my head. There are people who can’t put bread on the table even though they have the skill and education to match... thanks to this growing economy. In this new South Africa, which we are told, is full of possibilities there are people who are yet to see these possibilities I am one of them.
Since 1994 more and more people lost their jobs due to retrenchment and the government didn’t help the situation by commercialising the state owned enterprises. Thabo Mokoni used to work for telecommunication Giant Telkom. He was retrenched and later recalled as a part time worker and his luck ran out he is now unemployed. He joined more than 35 000 thousand workers that Telkom retrenched since 1997. This is almost half of Telkom workers in 1997.
According to Frans Baleni the General Secretary of the NUM ESKOM and transnet did the same. He says that ESKOM employed 6000 workers in 1999 and now they have 31000 employees. You ask yourself how did this happen? when more people now are getting electricity and new telephone lines one would expect the companies to hire more but no instead they decrease the number. The Para-statals were meant to boost the economy, provide people with training and secured jobs and of course cheaper products, which our new government saw as less important. Is it not ironic to hear over and over again President Mbeki saying South Africa have skills shortage? It is his government that commissioned consultants who recommended that the government commercialise State owned Enterprises.
Needless to say that this backfired and the government was forced to reverse the policy, but the damage was already done. State owned companies were helping to develop the economy and not making profit, but that have since changed. Politically we are free economically we are till far from being free. So how can you tell those people who have lost their jobs that their country is alive with possibilities? You will be speaking Greek to them