Nikita and I drove to work amidst the sound of chants & sirens, the smell of smoke and what might have been shots being fired. You see, yesterday a group of angry residents of one of the local informal settlements decided to protest about the apparent lack of service delivery in the area. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you squat, you can’t expect to have services delivered because there is no damn infrastructure in place for said services to be delivered.
Look, it’s not that I am totally unfeeling towards the people – I too have things I am not happy about, but they are small in comparison to the conditions these people must live in daily. I live in a fairly safe area, far removed from the blue lights, rubber bullets and tear gas, but I am not unaware, nor do I not comprehend that their issues need addressing. I do feel though that if common sense is a flower that grows in your garden (which it clearly doesn’t with everyone), you would either wait for your state-funded-residence, as so many before you have, and you’d join the ranks of the rest of society that pays (regardless of the amount) for their services.
I am angry though. Angry that they feel it is okay to damage public property with their tyre burning escapades and torching private dwellings.
Photos from Citizen.co.za and eNCA
Yes, you read right – these criminals razed other peoples’ homes to the ground because they’re not happy about the state of affairs at their own. I wish I could find these cruel idiots and shake some sense into them, asking them how YOU would feel if someone did this to you, or someone you cared about?! Where is the logic? Just this morning we heard from a colleague that had to travel through the hot-zone that a minibus carrying innocent school children had a brick tossed through its window. Sure, there is a visible police presence, but I think the laws of this country allow the criminals to rape, pillage and plunder while the police have to stand with their hands tied, trying to appear fierce and forceful. I would even wager that down the line the community may take matters into their own hands because they are also starting to get gatvol.
During the drive, Nikita and I were talking mainly about the fact that we have a compassionate employer, one that empathises with the situation many of the staff find themselves in because of the barbaric acts taking place close to them. I have a few friends, also employed by local business people and am totally disgusted how they are told “You will come to work or face disciplinary action” or “Fine, stay at home, but just remember, no work, no pay”. Have these people no compassion whatsoever? Would a better approach to the situation not be “Yes, I know the situation is volatile, but let’s assess it in a few hours, maybe you can come in then?”
Their employees, people I know are often hardworking and sometimes exploited because they are desperate for the pittances they receive as remuneration are now in need, yet understanding from their employers is not forthcoming; these poor souls are not even heard out. I find myself wondering how such business owners sleep at night. Is their revenue for the day more important than the life of one of their employees? In many instances, it appears so.
Again, yes, I get that this protest action is screwing with our already junk-status-economy but being a royal doos to your employees who actually want to be at work but can’t because they fear for their lives tells me you don’t have much wealth in the brain-, or compassion bank. You should take a leaf out of Richard Branson’s book: