Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fuck off, we are preparing for the World Cup

“The World Cup is going to bring so many things to the people of South Africa. In fact it has already done so by giving job opportunities to a lot of people since preparations began four years ago.” Joseph S Blatter, the FIFA president recently told a press conference and went on about how successful the Confederations Cup has been up to so far.

In the meantime the preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup is well underway. Billions have been pumped into ensuring that everything runs smoothly and the Local Organising Committee and the government have ensured that all obstacles towards preparations are removed as soon as they occur. This involved ensuring that despite the tripling of the budgeted amount for the world cup, money would always be available. Where does all this money come from, after all poor people have over the past 15 years be told to be patient with service delivery because government can only do so much with a limited budget. Over the years some government departments have had to cut back seriously on the anticipated expenditure as there was not enough money in the fiscus.

There have been crippling strikes over the years where workers were trying to assert their muscle but they have been effectively told to fuck off over the years because there is no money. We know of the terrible conditions our public hospitals are under and recently doctors have taken matters into their own hands because they are tired of being shunted from pillar to post. And all of this is because they have been told time and time again that there is no money.

The SABC – I admire Dali Mpofu, that big shot lawyer who took the corporation from a profitable entity under Peter Matlhare and in a couple of years turned it into a huge deficit and he is seen as a hero in the corridors of power, even by the self same employees of the SABC who cannot get their promised bonuses as a result of their bosses messing up – has always relied on government for bail out after squandering money but this time it is proving difficult because the really is no money. The world cup budget has gobbled up everything.

Hard working civil servants, even those lazy ones, have had to wait for performance bonuses to be paid to them because there was no money. There has been a lot of uncertainty over the budgets the departments would get because there were other priorities. Within the social development sector NGO and CBO that provide a vital service to the community and rely on government for funding have had to wait for up to 6 months for their grants to be paid and they were given all manner of reasons for the delay.

Negotiations over the Occupation Specific Dispensation has been dragging on for long because if truth be told these striking doctors are viewed not as a priority and as a nuisance because there are important matters of the world cup to attend to. The government is still trying to check where it can get the money to shut up these ungrateful loudmouths.

Our government has shown that where there is a will there is a way. Against all odds preparations for the 2010 preparations are way ahead of schedule and its like there is no recession or global financial crisis. In the meantime everything has taken the back seat and the poor and everybody else will just have to wait for 2010 to pass. In a period of less than 4 years insurmountable problems have been overcome and we have shown the skeptical world that Africa can do it. Contrast this with the track record of our democratic government over the past 15 years. The poor have been told over and over that they have to be patient because apartheid cannot be undone in 15 years.

It has been announced that doctors will get up to 53% pay hikes with effect from July but nothing has been said about the poor conditions our state hospitals are in or the doctors have to work under. I hope that they will take the strike to another level and ensure that they work under conducive circumstances. They should wring out of government and undertaking that coupled with salary increases the government will ensure that the state hospitals are well equipped.


  1. I read this post even with more interest, as Poland is preparing for hosting soccer Euro Cup in 2012. Of course, this is not the same as the World Cup, to which South Africa is going to arrange, but I can already see lots of your thoughts to be aplicable back home...

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and warmest regards from Islamabad,

  2. "Our government has shown that where there is a will there is a way."
    I agree - it seems terrible that when it comes to things like education there just doesn't seem to be enough of a will to take drastic measures.

    And 100% agree on the conditions in state hospitals. It seems to me that the most pressing problems are bad administration of hospitals, lack of resources compared to the number of people, and most importantly - terrible staff shortages. I actually think that doctors would probably be content with a smaller pay hike if the staff shortages could be worked out, so they don't have to work the ridiculous hours they do!