3 January 2002Jobless?
|Copying with the New South Africa.|
|It is common
knowledge that South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in
the world. Yet we carry on regardless. The government seems to be oblivious
to the fact that the people who voted them into office are the very same
suckers who are suffering because of their "economic reform" policies.
Working in an industrial area make you take notice of the amount of people patiently waiting for a possible position wherever a position "might" be open. And they are mostly blacks, which is sad to see. Qualified people sit on street corners every weekend in the neighbourhoods waiting for the odd garden or yard-leaning job, Fridays through Sundays. The going rate is between Twenty and Fifty Rand per day. Then of course there are the ones with signs advertising their skills and qualifications as painters, builders, etc. The fact that you cannot check on their qualifications make this a bit of a risky business, as well as the fact that everybody is scared of being burglered after taking on a "casual" for a day. Friendly dogs like mine is definitely not an advantage either. Then you have to worry about your equipment being abused or broken when performing their 50 buck tasks.
Luckily not all of them are like that. Many turned to becoming newspaper vendors on street corners early mornings. Others only on Sundays - which I must add are mostly white people. Informal trading has become big business in a very short period of time. These days you can buy whatever you need at a traffic light. From hairbrushes to superglue to sunshades to umbrellas to fruit to flowers. To hats to caps to clothes hangers to sunglasses to cold drinks. Name it and I've probably seen it somewhere along the way. And in typical African fashion roadside stalls have become the norm. In typical Zimbabwean style you can find anything and everything to do with Africa on the roadside. Statues, wooden carvings, mirrors, buckets, dog kennels, kiddies playpens, barstools, DVD's, Playstation and computer games. Fleamarkets are also making a killing with fake products available in any brand. I must add that some stalls at the fleamarkets sell beauty products for cheaper than most places, and here we're not talking expired or fake products!
But if you really want some action on a weekend, Bruma Lake fleamarket is the place to be. This venue is probably the most raided place on earth with police and industry clamping down on anything Nike, Adidas, Walt Disney and the likes they can find. Millions of Rands worth of goods are confiscated on a regular basis from mostly Eastern Block vendors whom are charged and their goods destroyed.
All this of course has a negative effect on the country. These businesses definitely generate an income for people and their families, but stop and think about the money lost to the distributors and the official importers of legitimate products. Sony must be loosing millions in pirate games, not even talking about all the computer games available from vendors. I know for a fact that most Playstation games (pirate/copied) lands here at something like Ten Rand a game. DVD's at about Sixty Rand a movie. These are sold at between Forty and a Hundred and Ten Rand each. The taxman though must be the biggest looser. South African prostitutes make between 5 and 10 grand a week without paying taxes, but they're in a minority when you look at the amount of street vendors.
Can we blame government or is it up to ourselves to make things happen? Of course it's our responsibility! It has become too easy to blame the ANC because they make it soooo easy for us to do so. With rapant corruption and back-handers in government it is no wonder that the majority of people expect the same for themselves. And of course government is trying to clamp down on this new culture. Big signs with "No Trading" are popping up all over, with traders ignoring it totally.
Now, I've just shown and told you how people are making a go of a bad situation, how come that every weekend we have the "whiteys" standing at busy intersections with big plackards proclaiming their Christianity and big families, begging for money? If a black man can make a plan selling superglue at the roadside, what in heavens name is wrong with these white people? Are they bargaining on other white people to part with a couple of bob out of sympathy? You bet ya! Some of these people make up to 10 grand a month begging at street corners!
Try offer one a job, his response will be that you can't afford him! Bloody hell, wish I had the patience and the audacity!