I have been asked to comment on the strikes taking place in South Africa. Obviously it’s relevant for the “SA Rocks guy” to have an opinion on something this controversial in SA right now.
I’ll give it my best go.
I think that teachers, doctors and nurses deserve to be paid a wage that reflects their value to the community and legally if they feel they are not being paid sufficiently they have the right to strike.
In my head striking involves a lack of action or inaction. A conscious decision to NOT work. Not to work at destroying structures, people, businesses and potential killing patients and babies at hospitals. This is inexcusable.
There is no problem with not going to work. There is a problem when you prevent people from entering hospitals, when you raid operating theaters and abandon other peoples children when you are responsible for their lives. This, I have a problem with.
Ivo Vegter has written a fantastic article on the topic over at the Daily Maverick. Read it, it has great value and one of the smartest things in his article is his calculation that ultimately what is being asked for by strikers is equal to a 20% increase. I’m sure there are many, many people the world over who would like a 20% wage increase but it just doesn’t work that way. I’m also sure there are many people who wish to resort to violence and blackmail when they don’t get the increase they desire but blackmail is illegal. Striking, however, is not illegal in South Africa.
Let me state the following as clearly as I can: I do not berate the rights of people in South Africa to strike. I am berating their choice of striking methodology and the helpless, innocent people they have been placing in harms way.
I also need to openly state that I don’t believe that the actions of the few reflect the state of many. I believe there are doctors, nurses and teachers who deserve an increase and are hoping for the issue to be resolved quickly and quietly. I don’t think that SA sucks because a mob got out of hand, I don’t think this is a problem that is unique to South Africa. I just think that it is a problem we are experiencing right now and it too shall be resolved and pass over like many other strikes we have experienced over many years.
South Africa is as unique as any other country, let the naysayers not be so brave as to state that we are the only country in the world that has striking civil servants, we are not. Let us not be so brave as to think that our country will never incur problems and when we do let us not be so stupid as to feel shocked, appalled and offended that we do have problems. Not every problem (however unnecessary or violent) warrants the end of days.
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