Saturday, September 29, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid 2007: Two SA Dispatches

July 2007. Alleman's dispatch: "Around me, young qualified people, (with small kids), are trying to emigrate... turning into a flood to get out of SA. If it carries on like this, it'll only be old whites left in SA. Government isn't helping with its array of 'let's shoot ourselves in the feet' cabinet ministers. Civil service is becoming a joke. Education department is in decline, etc. My son works for a small hi-tech firm which might close by the end of 2008, as few skilled graduates can be found. This month 4 engineers emigrated from the firm.

My daughter has been appointed to handle recruitment and training of black auditor graduates: a nightmare. The black grads often don't have cars (as they often come from poor families - one refuses to learn to drive as cars are too dangerous). The grads must go to different firms to audit the books. The white auditors handle more work, as they travel in their own cars, while the black grads use taxis. Both must be paid the same salaries, but black grads produce less than whites. Language problem: Black grads' English pronunciation is so poor, the client can't understand the auditor. Client then phones the firm, demanding someone they can communicate with in English. Misery continues...

Amazing TV news - female minister of Foreign Affairs commenting on the dire situation in Zimbabwe, went something like this: 'Uh, uh... sigh... I think we need to admit we have a problem... sigh... in Zimbabwe... sigh... as Zimbabwe is an independent country... sigh... The fact that there are now more Zimbabweans living in South Africa ... might... sigh, sigh... indicate we have a problem. The fact that thousands of starving Zimbabwians are crossing our borders illegally on a weekly basis... might indicate we are dealing with a problem situation... sigh... sigh... sigh...'"

August 2007. Alleman's dispatch: "It is now 'raining' corruption and incompetence at senior and local government levels. Many people without needed training and mentoring have been appointed (especially in the police), and the wheels are falling off. Deputy Minister of Health was fired last week, as she wasn't a 'team player.' i.e. Didn't keep quiet about incompetence. Deputy minister of the Interior has been running an unregistered business with taxpayers' money.

Paraphrased newspaper letter, to the local head of police: 'Get yourself a job, as you serve no function. You're useless.' Eina!

TV news: In the Northern Transvaal, kids are instructed in Initiation School to rape and murder. 12 year old kids witnessed a murder of a young girl, then tried to rape and burn a 4 year old girl. Cops refused to investigate, as it's a 'cultural' thing. Wheels falling off," the new donkey wagon.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Cathy Buckle's Zimbabwian Letters.

Friday, September 28, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid 2007: NZ and SA Roundup

2007. Esslemonts, Mona Vale, Christchurch.

Rot remained at East London, SA: 13 years after SA's Freedom Election, at least 19 white, affirmative-action teachers, with whom I'd taught, still rotted at Selborne College. Other white, affirmative-action "colleagues" still rotted at other East London schools. Despite good teaching at Selborne, my abiding memory was of a dirty, rotten school, with corrupt, unfriendly teachers.

After 6 years, NZ Labour was 3rd term re-elected, with 40% of the electorate vote, and negotiated with smaller parties to form an MMP coalition government. National got 39% of the electorate vote, and the new Maori party excelled. Some list MPs, helped by the minimum 5% party vote, became MPs again, despite electorates rejecting them. Former Treasurer, Winston Peters's electorate rejected him, but Labour appointed him Foreign Minister. Later, National opposition leader Brash resigned, and was replaced by Key.

Having taught youths for years, and having to watch politicians on NZTV, I thought their self-promoting, middle-fingering, swearing, baiting, belittling, mugging antics in parliament differed little from the worst youths I'd taught, except politicians bludged nice perks and fat salaries from taxpayers.

In 2007, the Labour government introduced the KiwiSaver state pension scheme. And state hospital doctors went on strike, claiming their $145000 p.a. salary was too low. Leah was lucky if she earned $30 000 p.a.

By emigrating to NZ, we gained physical security, but lost financial security. My apartheid souvenirs at Heath Street: a klipgooi Coronation brick and a chunk of polished, grey granite from East London Nahoon dump, which I used as doorstops; blood-red Schizostylis coccinea and fiery Crocosmia which grew in my garden, when the Rainbow Regime stood-down deputy president Zuma, after rape and corruption charges. Zuma was acquitted of rape. Ex president PW Botha died. Zimbabwe's ex PM, Ian Smith died a couple of weeks after Zimbabwe expats peace-marched down Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch.

2007. Zimbabwians Peace Marching down Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch. "Something is rotten in the state."

Selfish whites who'd voted for 46 years of apartheid left their offspring a terrible legacy: Hubby of Leah's friend Lynelle, who'd given us Lucky bitch 22 years before, supplied building materials for a new Pretoria school, funded by Oprah Winfrey. Lynelle's sister fostered or adopted black Aids babies. The ANC government stung businesses with more racial quotas: BEE - Black Economic Empowerment.

Leah's Durban teacher friend Joan was carjacked, and her heirloom rings were stolen as well. After weeks of teacher-strikes, when non -unionist Joan tried to keep her Queensburgh school open, a black man said, "You're a white bitch! You're a white supremacist racist!" Joan early-retired soon afterwards.

Despite PC verbiage about reconciliation, former strugglers who'd suffered under apartheid, delighted in tormenting whites: the white generations which didn't vote for apartheid. Despite having taught business methods to Zulus in the new SA, Leah's sister Jay planned emigrating to the USA, as black Af-action quotas had forced her and her Rhodie hubby to be unemployed. The clincher, one Durban day: their car was forced off Durbs southern freeway by black motorists. Later, Zulu men swore at them in West Street, simply because they were whites. In future, maybe we'll have a family reunion in USA?

After Jake's 21st birthday, when I drove to the top of Halswell Quarry Hill, Leah and I saw Alps in the west, Pacific in the east, and Canterbury Plain vanishing southwards. As economic outcasts, maybe when Leah and I grow old, with our hair as white as the Uniforms who took dad to Town Hill Hospital, we'll find a home for dad's stamp books. Maybe I'll find dad's first children, Peter and Patricia, my half brother and sister. Extensive Aussie enquiries were so far unsuccessful, but I'd found Esslemont Estate Wines in the Hunter Valley.

As for my Shakesperean "seven ages," I reckoned I was somewhere between "justice" and "slippered pantaloon," and I'd stay there a while. As for my final-recovery, the conveyor had stopped, and my personal cutting and polishing was delayed.

After buying ice-creams near Red Cliffs, Leah, Jake, Luke and I licked, and looked at houses on the Port Hills. I imagined Durban North where I grew up at 22 Chelsea Drive. The house had become a double -storey blockhouse, bordered by big trees. The umdoni and concrete border-wall mom had built were still there, where family ghosts haunted. I looked at Avon-Heathcote slime-green waters roiling round the bend. Moya tickled my face, and I heard servant Rosie cackling: "It'sa heeeeluva t'ing Mak."

I heard Fraser chuckling, and mom singing her varsity song:

"O 'Maritzburg, happy land, happy land,
I'm going back..." (Natal University Archives).

We liked NZ, but some Kiwis ripped off immigrants. Key, National Party leader, had called poor Kiwis an, "underclass," and welfare bureaucrats classified us, "working poor."

My lovely wife Leah did professional work few Kiwis did. She worked long hours, but didn't earn enough to enrich our family. For years, she'd phoned in her low-pay to WINZ, biggest state department, which topped up her pay with dole. We had no money for extras: holidays; annuities; investments; house deposit; mortgage; decent clothes, new car. After 12 years' Christchurch residence, having bargained my former wealth for safety (my family paid a high price), and paid over $100 000 rent in 3 different houses, we rented a former state-house, inferior to our former SA houses.

Since emigrating, our living costs rose, our living standards dropped. But our safety improved, despite our Burnside letterbox being Guy Fawkes firebombed in 2005. My car was ambushed and attacked on Cranford Street in 2007, by out-of-control, partying youths.

Before 2003, NZ Immigration Service pitched a general skills category points-system, stimulating NZ's economy with immigrants' money, but rarely matching manpower needs with either appropriate NZ tertiary training (like apprenticeships), or suitable immigrants (having education, expertise, entrepreneurial skills and work experience) with needed jobs. Some professional immigrants couldn't find long-term professional work, or were under-employed. They re-emigrated, or retrained, or stayed unemployed. Kiwis had much to answer for, as some immigrants experienced psycho-social, health and wealth damage.

In 2003, NZ Labour Immigration minister announced legislation about a skilled migrant category points-system: Immigrants with NZ needed skills, like artisans, with job-offers, preferably outside Auckland, would be favoured. It was another migrant-labour scheme, for employers not committed to on-the-job training. NZ would get moneyed immigrants educated and work-experienced in other lands.

In 2005 the NZ Labour government announced a taxpayer-paid scheme, to be introduced over several years, which would help poor working-families' finances. Also announced: an employer administered "KiwiSaver" savings / superannuation scheme to begin in 2007.

I could never buy a NZ house for my family, after owning fully paid for properties in SA. In 2007, NZ's average house mortgage of $200 000, paid off over 30 years, became $600 000, with interest. I'd need to win the Lotto or Readers' Digest Sweepstakes to enable me to buy a NZ house. Aged 56, as a former NZ labourer (earning less than $10/hr), if hypothetically, I'd worked 12 years x 52 weeks/year (no holidays) x 40 hours/week x NZ$10/hour, I would've earned only $249600, before 19% tax and GST. Never mind other living costs for my family.

Years hence, our sons would've been exploited as cheap-labour by Kiwi employers. They'd be paying back student-loans. They'd be searching for low-paid, short-term contract-jobs, or running their own businesses. Their future was theirs'.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid: SA Dispatch December 2005

< 2005. Flair Esslemont, The Boss, Burnside, Christchurch.

December 2005. Alleman's dispatch: "In February 2006, Koffiefontein mine will close. All De Beers mines are making big losses except Venetia and Finsch (breaking even). Kimberley will probably also close all underground work in the near future. The strong Rand (about R6.20 having been R12 against US$ a few years ago) is killing mining exports. Daily reports of mine shafts closing.

Cheap eastern textile imports are closing many textile factories. Yet the property market is frenzied. Middle-class 3 bedroom houses in the Strand start at R800 000. Construction projects sell out before the first sod is turned. Speculators sell a "house" for a profit, before the first brick is laid. There're many 4x4s. Harley Davidsons, about R200 000 each, are common on Sunday roads. Many people are living in expensive security-complexes.

Defence Force is a joke: Navy needs funds. State bought overseas submarines, but they must come by ship, as there're few qualified submariners to operate them. Organizations in SA must be 80% black. Military Academy stopped for 6 months, as there're few qualified lecturers. Whites are forbidden jobs. Commandos are disbanded. [Bye-bye]. Two expensive training planes fell from the sky, as a 'political decision' enabled black learner-pilots to re-do their exams, after repeatedly failing exams.

Despite murders being more than 18000 per annum, no one may own more than one firearm (nothing semi-automatic, except a pistol). It's hard getting a new firearm licence. Thousands of white cops, forced out of the old SAP, now run private detective agencies. You use them if you want a serious crime investigated. Denel arms manufacturer was almost bankrupt, and corruption was exposed, so government removed the black CEO, replacing him with a white guy, I assume temporarily to fix the mess.

There're hundreds of private schools in SA. Tertiary education: shambolic, standards dropping. About 140 MPs (approx. 40%) were caught out in a travel fraud, but only about a dozen have been prosecuted so far. Government announcement: '37000 government employees are fraudulently getting monthly welfare payments.' Ramos, ANC bigwig, appointed to save the railways, appoints a male Afrikaner to save the railways.

Average age of Zimbabwe whites: in the 6os. 1000s of whites living a squatter-camp existence - 18 to a three-bedroom house.

Too many young qualified people emigrate. Pretoria psychologist consults white women and families whose men work overseas, then vanish, abandoning SA families. Whites resist state racist policies: Whites enter 'African' on state forms, as race classification died with apartheid."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

2007. Christchurch NZ 2005: More WINZ Hassles

2004. Luke Esslemont fishing Tekapo Pukaki Canal, Mackenzie District.

NZ Labour government budgeted financial relief for bourgeois families after the 2005 elections. For the third year running, Inland Revenue advised me they owed me a few cents tax refund. I declined teaching English to Korean kids, as my hearing-aids were useless when listening to soft-spoken Korean kids. The Korean immigrant employer expected me to temp-teach in his Burnside home at night for low-pay. As I'd adapted to my deafness, it wasn't a problem to me anymore, but the often negative and patronizing reactions and responses of others to my deafness was a daily problem.

After bullying and stand-overs at WINZ offices, we expected little from our Papanui WINZ Maori, Indian and Chinese case-managers, who after numerous pointless interviews, wasting our time and resources, said that as "mature beneficiaries," we would thenceforth be managed differently. The expat Durban Indian didn't say how we'd be managed differently. She just spouted the latest PC verbiage, cooked up by her masters. Papanui WINZ wrote: "If we do not hear from you we will assume you no longer require assistance. This will result in your entitlement to receive benefit as a jobseeker being reviewed which may affect your benefit payment." (WINZ letter January 2004). We received many of those blackmailing type form-letters over the years.

WINZ offices were grim and unhappy places, despite cheerful, yellow signage, flash pamphlets and a plethora of pcs. Over time, WINZ had manipulated our dole to my invalid and sickness benefits at Sydenham; to "Job-Seeking" dole benefits and junk-job harassment at Riccarton and Sydenham; to Jake aged 18 and Luke aged 13 reducing state Family Assistance; to "Jobs Jolt" meetings at Papanui, where fast-turnover case-managers asked personal questions (which Leah and I'd answered many times before), without bothering to consult case-managers at other WINZ offices. And if a beneficiary showed signs of exasperation, he / she was accused of being a threat, as I was at Sydenham; glared at by security-staff; and video-cammed by many roof security-cameras.

In 2005, Leah stopped her self-employed tutoring business, and became a low-paid, almost full-time (.8) teacher at Jean Seabrook Memorial School. For the first time in 10 years, Leah got holiday pay, so we went trout fishing in the Alps.

2005. Leah Esslemont & some Jean Seabrook Memorial School School Staff, London Street, Christchurch.

WINZ / Employment Service / Income Support had never advised: "We've considered your over 30 years' combined professional work experiences, and your over 10 years' combined tertiary education. We've found just the jobs for you." WINZ was good at providing dole, but case -managers were evasive when we asked about well paid jobs. I reckoned WINZ employment service was inefficient, as Riccarton and Sydenham WINZ tried forcing me to do low-paid temp-jobs inappropriate for my qualifications and professional work experiences. I wasn't the only degreed beneficiary WINZ tried forcing to do low-paid work.

Sadly, my experiences with WINZ involved scores of letters; useless meetings and telephone calls; waste of my resources; and goose -chases, set up by staff. Whether our WINZ case-managers were National government or Labour government, their bureaucratic indifference was consistent. There was little incentive for employers to provide equitable wages for employees, as many jobs were subsidized by the dole. There was little incentive for the unemployed to seek work, as wages were low. Despite Leah working long hours, after 10 years' NZ residence, we still received state Family Assistance for Luke, and an inadequate rent supplement. Leah's low-wage barely covered our living expenses. We had no savings to buy our own home, no insurances, no annuities, no NZ citizenship (expensive), and we couldn't help Jake pay his student-loan.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2007. Christchurch NZ 2003 - 2005: Heath Street Hallelujah

< 2004. Esslemonts' Heath Street Pondok, Burnside, Christchurch.

Since my first query over six years before, I again asked the Christchurch Occupational Safety and Health Service about jobs. OSH wrote:

"We do not have a list of employed people who have various disabilities. Regarding health and safety requirements, it is the employer's responsibility to account for needs of persons with a disability when allocating them work, ensuring they are trained and able to work, and to account for a disability in emergency procedures. You should not be put in a position whereby your hearing loss could potentially put you at risk or harm." (NZ Labour Department, Occupational Safety and Health letter, May 2003).

Bureaucratic indifference under Labour or National was the same, as Equal Employment Opportunities were negated by the Health and Safety in Employment Act. Some exploitative employers patronized the disabled, by paying disabled labourers less than other labourers, despite disabled labourers doing the same hazardous work.

Before immigration, Leah and I had to get our fingerprints freely taken by SAP for ID / passport purposes. That was freely repeated by Christchurch Central police station, when we renewed our passports - processed by SA Embassy, Canberra. When Jake was ready for a SA adult passport, costing $A30, we paid Christchurch Central police station $NZ40 for Jake's fingerprints. I wondered whether Kiwi criminals paid for their own fingerprints?

< 2004. Luke Esslemont & Al Mackintosh, Christchurch Cathedral.

July 2003. Alleman's dispatch: "After I moved to Kimberley, as a Kimberley Mine contractor, my flat was burgled. With the Rand strengthening from R13 to the US$ to R7.50 to the US$, most De Beers SA operations are running at a loss. Last December Jonas was retrenched from IR. Retrenchment will continue this December. SA economy doing well: inflation drops due to the strengthening Rand. Millions are unemployed. Job-creation is a problem.

Aids deaths: Big problem. Rampant crime: Cape Town ballet dancer paralysed, shot while carjacked. Malmesbury: Department of Education official shot dead, while pouring petrol at a garage. Burnt out Combi near Umtata: 3 burnt bodies, 19 empty 9mm cartridges lying around. SA prison population: 170 000, and increasing. Prisons can only accommodate 120 000. Government wants to build more prisons, a job creation exercise."

Alleman retired from De Beers, remarried and settled in Hermanus. At Birdling Flats, I found two sea-worn jade pebbles, drilled holes and polished them, posting two "Maori" jade pendants as wedding gifts for Alleman and his new wife.

Ten years, post apartheid, ANC again won the election with a two thirds majority.

Jake finished Hillmorton High, but I was dissatisfied with his year 13 teachers and their poor timetabling of Jake's courses, poor control of his absenteeism, and their non-accountability for bad controls of classwork and assessments. Playing Pig Dog, I bailed up the dean, principal and VP in a school office, and they all played DUMB. Unimpressed, I then complained to the BOT, ERO, NZTC and they all stonewalled, protecting bad teachers.

< 2002. Esslemonts, Oaklands, Christchurch.

After eight years at Oaklands, we moved to Burnside, rented a house at Heath Street, and enrolled Luke at decile 9 Burnside High School, as there was a positive correlation between high decile schools and high academic achievement. Every spring, around Leah's birthday, blooming apple trees along Heath Street sang, "Hallelujah," while nor-westers blew petal confetti.

While working as a low-paid, hotel kitchen-hand, Jake heard his boss ranting about SA male guests, so Jake said, "I was born in South Africa, and my dad's South African." Jake's boss apologised, but Jake realized we'd emigrated to avoid crude racism, and he soon left the hotel.

Christchurch Asian community held a "No to racism Yes to harmony" rally down Worcester Boulevard: attended by about 2000 people chanting slogans. I walked in front of cops, while snapping photos, and avoiding rednecks. In 2007, one of those rednecks tried to be elected as Christchurch's mayor.

Jake turned 18, and over the next few years went through girlfriends, grimy flats and grasping landlords. Jake got a state student-loan and student-allowance, did a computer graphics-design course, then found a Fox and Ferret gastro-pub job at Riccarton. Jake would take years to repay his student-loan, interest free, provided he stayed in NZ. The moment he left NZ, the student-loan interest time-bomb would begin ticking, as other students had bunked overseas, not repaying their loans.

During Xmas 2004, Leah's brother Al and his American family and Leah's mom visited us. Al was manager at Buffalo Airport, New York State. It was my mother-in-law's 4th NZ trek in 10 years. Since her last visit, her sister, brother, daughter and Gillie had died of cancer. She continued living at Pennington in her in-laws' fortified motel.

Ten years after decades of struggle for the new SA, young, enfranchised, black outcasts weren't voting, as they were disillusioned with false-promises made by the Rainbow Regime. (Jessica Williams, 50 Facts That Could Change The World, Icon Books, Cambridge, 2004). Blacks were emigrating from SA.

While old Mandela was wearing a Russian fur hat on TV, and begging money in London for poor Africa, Leah's 84 year old aunty Belle was tied up in her Durban home by a Zulu man, who cut aunty Belle's hands to torture her. He demanded her safe key, and tried to rape her, but she screamed. When elderly neighbours arrived, the outcast strolled away, knowing cops would do zilch. SA reality: blacks not voting; blacks and whites emigrating; white-grannies jet-setting to see families; black man demanding aunty Belle's safe key, and fucking integration.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Burnside High School.

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 2002-2003, Family Death, Jake's Schooling, SA Dispatches

< 2002. Luke Esslemont playing Oaklands School rugby, Hagley Park, Christchurch.

Leah's sister Bebs (47) got lung cancer, which spread to her liver. As we couldn't afford NZ airfares, family and friends gave Leah money, enabling Leah to fly to Durban, where she bade Bebs a sisterly, "Hamba kahle..." Bebs died two months later.

November 2002. Alleman's dispatch: "Koffiefontein mine has production problems, caused by dolerite intrusion in blue-ground, reducing carat production, with an average loss of R5000 000 per month. Cost cutting in 2003 will lose 95 mine jobs. Early-retirement volunteers were asked for. I applied, as the pension-package was substantial. As I'm a Group Category manager, De Beers will employ me at Kimberley. I recently divorced, and my ex lives in Bloem. My graduate son will be engineering in Stellenbosch. My graduate daughter will be a trainee-auditor in Cape Town, where I grew up.

Economy's going well: Rand strengthened last month, causing many people, like my dad, who'd converted savings to US dollars, to lose heavily. Black empowerment created newly rich blacks. Frauds by civil servants and business people. Two black army generals arrested for false qualifications. Estimated: 20% of all SA appointments are on false qualifications.

A split is developing between ANC (middle-class party with strong socialist leanings, moving towards capitalism) and SACP, with COSATU in the middle. i.e. Middle-class versus trade union workers. [Allister Sparks, Beyond the Miracle, Profile Books, London, 2003]. In Welkom, Anglo sold most of its mines to a black empowerment group, but Basutho gangs armed with AK-47s and 9 mms control large areas of Welkom underground mining, forcing no-go areas for white miners. Basutho gangs do their own mining with company equipment, then smuggle concentrate above ground on their persons.

In the Transvaal, a secret Afrikaner organization wants to establish an Afrikaner republic. The ANC tries to woo whites, with the ANC and Nats becoming partners, but ANC alienated poor Afrikaners with discriminatory laws."

< 2002. Luke Esslemont learning to ski, Porter Heights.

"Zimbabwe's chaotic: Little fuel left. A black-market economy develops. 2003 inflation predicted at 500%. A week before harvesting, most white farmers were given 24 hours to leave their land - forbidden to take anything, and no compensation. Hundreds of thousands of black farm-workers are unemployed and called 'enemies of the state,' as they worked for whites."

2002 was a good form 6 year for Jake at Hillmorton High, but his unionised PPTA teachers had gone on rolling-strikes and extra -curricular stoppages for more pay. The Labour Education minister resisted PPTA demands. Wildcat strikes by NZ high school teachers, school walk-outs and street-protests by Hillmorton pupils and NZ pupils didn't impress me. (David Grant, Those Who Can Teach, Steele Roberts, Wellington, 2003).

In 2003, Jake did his own rolling-strikes (year 13 absenteeism and work-stoppages), which he'd learnt from striking teachers. Jake's year 13 teachers poorly timetabled Jake's lessons; clashed drama rehearsals and geography camp; and poorly controlled his classwork and assessments completion: leaving Jake and me very angry.
< 2001. Esslemont Brothers & 'Kiwi' mates from East London, who emigrated to Christchurch with us. Mark Esslemont's "Mouse in the Cats' Cream' painting as backdrop.

January 2003: Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, contracted to Department of Labour's NZIS, tried matching immigrants to Canterbury work, at work-force entry-level positions: cheap-labour again. CECC interviewed me, but I had misgivings about CECC and employers expecting professional immigrants to work for low wages, which wouldn't sustain immigrant families.

January 2003. Alleman's dispatch: "I told my 83 year old Cape Town father that he's jackal-meat, as he refuses considering an old-age home. In the new SA in 1994, he lived in a white suburb. Now he's the only white living in a black suburb. [Like Leah's mom's Durban experience]. A Capie dronkgat living in the servant's room, is a useful gardener, and keeps my father company.

Over 1200 killed on the roads this holiday. Although we're all supposed to have drivers' licences by the end of Feb., half the driver population don't have licences. The Dopper kerk relented about apartheid at their recent synod. Doppers now allow women deacons, and the church has now entered the 20th century.

Argument at a Sea Point massage-parlour between gays and Nigerian drug dealers - 6 men executed (shot in the backs of their heads). At 4:00 someone ran to a garage with his throat slit (repaired with sticky-tape), and a bullet in the back of his head.

A drunk cop took his drunk colleagues hostage at a Phillipi cop -shop. Killed a cop before the liquor wore off, and the drama stopped.

Near Durban, bodies off 3 executed teenagers were found along a road. Near Pretoria, 15 okes with AK-47s tried robbing a Fidelity van. When the robbery failed, they sprayed freeway cars. The British army recruits Commonwealth troops in SA. [And off to Iraq they'd go].

Zimbabwe: No food, no petrol, no money. 500% inflation predicted. There's 60% unemployment. Most confiscated farms now lie idle - no expertise, no equipment, no capital, no seeds. Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) thugs have much to answer for.

People dying in droves in Southern Africa. There're scores of thousands of Aids orphans, and there'll be millions of Aids orphans in future.

Economy's doing well: Rand strengthened for a while, but weakened last week. Skills shortages worsen when skilled men go on pension. Retirement racket: Go on pension after a big farewell (after giving your job to an affirmative-action black, or white woman if black not found), then be re-employed as a contractor / consultant at double your previous wage, ensuring the job gets done."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 2000-2001 SA Dispatch and WINZ Harassment

2001. Esslemonts in the red, Oaklands, Christchurch.

January 2001. Alleman's dispatch: "Economy doing well, and we make money. Regarding tertiary education bursaries for Jake - Government policy: only black youths get bursaries. Businesses must use 80%-20% quota - 80% blacks, forcing businesses to employ / train racially. Business decisions must be racial, like apartheid.

Cops are being 'blackified.' You struggle to get a crime solved. Traffic cops ask for bribes. Gangsterism is increasing. Drugs are out of control. Government corruption at all levels. Violent crime: Pep Stores in town robbed last week; car -jackings; burglaries; murders (over 70 in Ditlhake over Xmas); rapes are so common they aren't newsworthy anymore.

Latest job is 'car guards.' Pay a street-kid R2, and he guards your parked car while you shop. A tsotsi shot an East Londoner in his face. He played dead, while his home was robbed. (Tsotsis had already burrowed through his security wall in a previous robbery). His wife arrived and was shot at. Missed! Later, she took her husband to hospital, which wanted R3000 up-front before he was admitted.

Natal farmers can't get adult labourers, due to Aids deaths. Only young and elderly (non-Aids) labourers are available. Multitudes dying of Aids: 11 million infected in SA - about 20% of the adult population. Over 600 000 Aids orphans in Zimbabwe. Elderly white woman robbed and raped in her home. She got Aids and drinks herself to death. Addington Hospital: now an Aids hospital.

Remember in 1987 when Koffiefontein mine black employees refused to acknowledge mine clinics warning about Aids and the need for condoms? White Baas trying to stop us blacks having our 'Gifts from God,' our children. New undertaker businesses, bottom of Berea Road, Durban, are burying Aids corpses. On the road south of Beit Bridge, blacks sell concrete tombstones, with plastic wreaths for Aids victims.

There're squatters along the Garden Route from Plett to Knysna. And cows wander across the road. There's cholera and foot-and-mouth in Natal, malaria in the north, and anthrax in Schmidtsdrif. Municipalities now replace stolen manhole-covers on streets with concrete lumps. Did you know Chappies bubblegum wrappers are now PC?"

Before 11 September 2001, some Cantabrians and National politicians objected to Tampa rescued Afghani refugees (saved from an Australia-bound sinking ship) wanting Christchurch residence. The Labour government later allowed Afghanis into NZ. (Caroline Moorehead, Human Cargo, Random House, London, 2005).

Riccarton WINZ tried forcing me to clerk at a church-school ($10/hour x 26 weeks temp job, no holiday pay). My case-manager illegally expected 10 year old Luke to be a latchkey-kid while I clerked. A Christchurch councillor also tried forcing me to do that job, with Leah taking harassing phone calls for me, as I couldn't use the phone. The headmaster wouldn't tell me who my employer would be, as the school, WINZ and Christchurch City Council would all have contributed to my measly $10/hour.

I declined the job, as the walls of the school's photocopy room were black with toner, a health hazard, and my nearby "workstation," sans pc, was behind an office door.

Riccarton WINZ stopped our dole. I complained. WINZ resumed our dole, without explaining why WINZ had stopped our dole.

Riccarton WINZ then wanted me to do a Fuse "business training" course, for unemployed visual artists. I declined, as performing arts were my forte. The Fuse "trainer" lady just copied my CV, (which Riccarton WINZ already had), sent it back to Riccarton WINZ, recommending that I needed "training," whatever that meant. Riccarton WINZ then sent me to a Creation "trainer" to be interviewed. I arrived, twice, and wrote to the Creation "trainer," but the "trainer" was absent. As I was fucked around, I wondered if the "training" existed. In 2004, the Labour government stopped funding such wasteful "training."

WINZ based its dole payments on beneficiary labels. Examples: "Job Seeker," "Sickness Beneficiary," "Invalid." I was labelled Job Seeker. Over the years, by post and phone calls we'd regularly informed Income Support / WINZ of our low pay, and due to WINZ slow dole processing, WINZ belatedly informed us by post that WINZ had overpaid us small dole amounts, which WINZ subsequently reclaimed from our dole payments. Despite dole processing, not one WINZ employee acknowledged nor advised that Leah was actually our family Job Seeker, until Leah and I asked Riccarton WINZ to relabel Leah Job Seeker, as Leah was our family Breadwinner. To play the parts of Job Seeker and Partner, we had to attend another humiliating form-signing meeting at Riccarton WINZ.

Although Leah was running a successful small tutoring business (low pay compared to other professionals), and I was doing her book -keeping and tax returns, Riccarton WINZ insisted I attend a "Small Business" interview in the CBD. The "Small Business" organisation had no client parking and the manager who "interviewed" me almost fell asleep, as his eyes glazed over several times during his "interview." I wondered whether WINZ paid him for such dozy interviews? I never heard from him again.

Riccarton WINZ sent our file back to Sydenham WINZ. I wanted to believe WINZ had my tertiary education, professional expertise and interests at heart, but I was wrong. Example of Sydenham WINZ's standover and ambush tactics:

Job interview, Me to Gosling: "...Words! I should be doing writing and copy-editing work."

Gosling, with the dead weight of the biggest government department behind her, scrolling through her junk-job list: "Do envelope stuffing - ten dollars an hour!"

Me: "No thanks. Do you expect me to stuff envelopes for the rest of my life?"

Gosling called her Aussie supervisor who said, "You can't do that!"

Me: "Whose side are you on?" Aussie stopped, silent, shocked. Empathising with a beneficiary was new to him.

Male service-manager (who hadn't answered my query letters), and just happened to be strolling by: "Be quiet! You talk too loudly! You're a threat to my staff!...." I was humiliated in their noisy communal office - where keyboards tapped, interviewers jabbered and employees telephoned. What did they expect? They hadn't read my CV, nor matched my professional expertise with suitable work, despite having had months to do so.

Sydenham WINZ sent me to a female job-agent who asked, "Why don't you teach at a deaf school?... Why don't you teach ESOL?..."

Pig Dog: "Why don't you work with females?... Why don't you read my CV?... You're not the first person asking me those questions. As if being deaf, I crave working with deaf people."

I complained to Labour PM Clark about my immigrant money -matters, like my broken teeth. Her Labour minister wrote, "This government is determined to create a fair society where all New Zealanders have the means and capacity to lead dignified and productive lives. We know there have been growing levels of hardship in NZ, and we are absolutely committed to introducing economic and social policies to eliminate hardship." (Labour minister, NZ Letter January 2001. Also Christine Rankin, Light The Flame, Random House, Auckland, 2008).

The minister didn't answer my question: "Would you and your family honestly be able to live on the dole which NZ beneficiaries are expected to live on?"

Years later, the minister's Maori colleague said the Labour minister was "bullshitting" about Maori welfare. After the Maori minister said the Labour minister was "smarmy," PM Clark made the Maori minister apologise. Later the Labour minister became Education minister, then left politics to become Chancellor of a North Island university.

A state dental hospital extracted two of my teeth, put temp-fillings in my broken teeth, and put my name on a waiting list. I'm still waiting, years later. The fillings soon crumbled, and despite our answer -phone, we never heard from the hospital again. Waiting lists fobbed off patients, while hospital staff moaned about short-staff, or bad work conditions. What's the point of a welfare state, if it neglected to fix teeth, or do surgery? In comparison, the teeth I'd had repaired and capped in SA years before were still OK.

2000. Leah Esslemont's Mackintosh Brothers Al & Gee, Rocky Mountains, Denver, USA.

WINZ sent a 57 year old SA immigrant (BCom., analytical chemist) on a bus driver's course. He declined the bus driver's $10/hour job, but did part-time civil-defence work, then security work. After 8 year's residence, a Pom engineer and his teacher wife couldn't find full-time professional work. Like us, they endured the dole. After advertising my CV in The Press, Giz a Job column, I declined medical-journal and craft-journal casual job offers: low-pay.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See "The Press."

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 1999-2000, SA Dispatches and Work Wraiths

2000. Esslemonts near Rakaia River

Leah continued her self-employed business, teaching SLD pupils at home, at schools and at Seabrook McKenzie Centre. Her earnings were subsidized by the dole. Jake and Luke grew up in Christchurch and became musicians. Jake became a self-taught bass-guitarist, harmonica-player, clarinetist and singer. Luke's piano and theory teacher was a Cape Town expat, and Luke learnt tympani at high school. My deafness induced family to be my main involvement. Detachment from noisy social situations characterized me: antithesis of my old SA life. My nausea, nystagmus and blackouts caused me to fear surfing and swimming. My old Perthes hip caused me to jog lopsided, so I preferred long walks. The Port Hills and Southern Alps called.

October 1999. Alleman's dispatch: "Government considering closing many black schools. Few pupils pass. Few teachers teach - just draw monthly pay. New political squeak: 'Transformation' means whites must be substituted with blacks. New laws will make business life difficult. Corruption and crime is a SA Lifestyle. The faster they 'transform,' the faster corruption and inefficiency accelerates.

I have a maximum of eight years before De Beers retirement. I'm refusing to be interviewed by a Promotions Panel, as it won't promote me after 12 years' service. Why give false hope? Why pretend? To promote a white male is now a crime. We have a new apartheid, but are forbidden to say so. Business liberals, who were against old apartheid, support new apartheid laws.

We have weekly, bus, truck, taxi accidents. When you drive in a city, you can't assume a minibus-taxi will stop at a red light or stop street. They drive like they always have right of way. To disembark or pick up passengers they stop - anywhere. Government wants to introduce a scheme to state-subsidize black taxi buyers. Newspaper report: White women controlling netball, unacceptable. Two netball executive women executed - shot in the backs of their heads."

In April 2000, NZ mayors met in Christchurch to discuss NZ's unemployment problem. NZ's social welfare was unsustainable with high unemployment and big bureaucracy. Amidst clamour to get work wraiths off their derrieres, NZ employers were silent. Labouring and process-worker jobs Christchurch offered me wouldn't sustain my family, as those jobs needed to be subsidized by state dole, state accommodation supplement and state Family Assistance. Despite Leah doing professional tutoring, we were labelled "working poor," meaning low-income families having parents / partners working to earn a combined wage, subsidized by the state.

July 2000. Alleman's dispatch: "Civil Aviation Board replaced top management with affirmative -action employees. Board sold pilots' licences to blacks, who fraudulently passed exams. Rural train stations decay. Eskom left Colenso. When municipal services decayed, Colenso shrivelled, then Zulus demolished buildings for shanty materials.

SA is stuffed with Nigerians, Malians, Zimbabwians, Zambians, Congolese, Arabs, Angolans, Tanzanians, Chinese... Farmers killed almost daily. Places like Hillbrow you wouldn't recognize - slummy high-rise buildings with no electricity, water or sewage. It's risky driving through Hillbrow. Amidst chaos of useless cops, insufficient courts, overcrowded prisons, impotent Welfare Department, the economy surges ahead. And Afrikaners manage it.

Government income reached record high - Tax department implements a programme designed by Stellenbosch University, and rakes in money. Personal tax reduced from 45% to 42%. Company tax dropped 35%. Exemption of tax interest gone from R2000 to R3000 per year. You can now invest up to R750 000 outside SA. Rand falls. Petrol prices rise - R3.50/litre - rising almost monthly. No end to government schemes - unemployment pay; limited gun ownership; quick 'transfer' of 30% of agricultural land to 'peasants' - wealth transfer from productive to unproductive people. Disaster will result, like in Zimbabwe where Mugabe's minions invade white commercial farms.

Estimated: 60% of women in Carltonville are HIV positive. Natal - 40% are HIV positive. (Approx. 50% of Zambian high school girls are HIV positive). 40% of SA tertiary students are HIV positive. 1700 Aids cases are diagnosed daily in SA. PC no-no's: Aids and skills shortage - while citizens emigrate."

In December 2000, when I applied to Riccarton WINZ for an emergency benefit to repair my broken molar, a male employee sniggered at a nearby workstation. When I complained to the service-manager he said, "We do not consider the male employee was at your meeting. There's no indication he sniggered at the interview." (WINZ letter, December 2000).

In January 2001, a Durban lawyer friend wrote: "SA has a depressed economy, with increased corruption and government bungling, particularly in health, education, police, justice and prisons. There's a breakdown in law and order."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

2007. NZ Work Seeking Dole and MMP Government, 1999

< 2000. Esslemonts & Mackintosh, Oaklands, Christchurch.

Over 11 months WINZ sent me Medical Certificate form-letters forcing me to see 7 Quacks, (although by law for a sickness benefit I only had to see 5 Quacks annually). Medical Certificates stated: "Your Community Wage will stop on... See your doctor by this date, if you are still unable to work and wish your Community Wage to continue." (WINZ Medical Certificate December 1999).

My Quack advised WINZ: "Profoundly deaf. Trained as a teacher / educator. Unable to hear / communicate with students." When I queried Quack why I had to see so many doctors to state I was obviously deaf, when in SA I'd seen 4 doctors in over 4 years, he said, "I'm a gatekeeper?... You can't fight bureaucrats?" Compliant Quack had accepted a form from anonymous Gosling, listened to my deafness story, filled in the form, checked my ears for wax, enquired about my CV, then accepted $36 fee for 5 minutes quacking. Quack scammed more money from me in 5 minutes than Leah earned in an hour as a SLD tutor. Quack and Gosling had guaranteed sheltered -employment processing WINZ sickness / invalid benefits.

Taxpayers paid for designated Quack consultations, and reimbursed my Quack consultation expense claims and hearing-aid maintenance expenses. Multiply that out for thousands of sickness beneficiaries and taxpayers paid megabucks. When I presented a WINZ claim form to Quack's secretary for endorsement she said, "Ten dollars?"

"It's a ripoff!" I said. "All my Christchurch hourly-paid jobs had paid less then ten dollars per hour." Quack expected $10 for one minute's form-filling. After 7 consultations, Quack referred me to an ENT specialist, confirming my deafness. For years afterwards, the specialist sent me "appointment" letters, which I ignored.

NZ Quacks diagnosed "stress" and "depression" for thousands of sickness and invalid beneficiaries, enabling WINZ to massage unemployment statistics, as "sickness" and "invalid" beneficiaries were no longer classified as "unemployed." Compliant Quacks diagnosing drug-addicts or alcoholics as "depressed" or "stressed," enabled self-abusers to become sickness beneficiaries, and enabled gate -keeping Quacks to prosper.

I applied for a WINZ advertised PR job, but Gosling blocked my application, as I was a sickness beneficiary. Gosling then insisted I drove to Sydenham office to inform me she was refunding Leah's tutoring business start-up costs.

Before general elections, National politicians who jabbered about getting dole-bludgers working for the dole didn't say how jobs would be created, or how employers would pay equitable wages to support families. Before one election, former government Treasurer, Winston Peters suggested all male school-leavers should be conscripted for 12 weeks national service. That idea fizzled out.

After 2 years, the $21/week Work-for-the-dole Community Wage was abandoned, after Clark's Labour government trounced Shipley's National government. After providing busy-work over 13 months for WINZ employees and Quacks, none of whom cured my deafness, I wrote a complaint letter to my Labour MP Dyson, who wrote a minimizing reply. (Dyson, NZ letter June 2000). I asked Gosling to stop my sickness benefit and transfer me back to "Work-seeking" dole at Riccarton WINZ.

In SA, there was affirmative-action for blacks. In NZ, we discovered affirmative-action for females. Example: Leah received a letter from a 2007 Christchurch female mayor election candidate addressed to, "Dear Mrs. Esslemont..." I didn't receive a, "Dear Mr. Esslemont..." letter, as the female mayor candidate targeted only females, and lost half of the electorate with her poor judgment and insight. Leah's bosses at Seabrook McKenzie Centre were all females. We saw on TV strange laws being debated in parliament, like the Civil Unions Bill, allowing queers to marry.

NZ's Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representative government had a double voting system - electorate and party votes. Some list MPs got into parliament if their party polled a minimum 5% of the party vote. Example: After Labour trounced National, although our local Labour MP Dyson was elected, our local National party hack also stayed in parliament, as he was high on the National party list, (but he got low votes from the electorate). Thus the party list system left some constituencies with two MPs: the elected winner, and the favourably listed loser. Other constituencies just had one elected MP, as the party listed hack was low on the party list, and couldn't become a sinecurist MP.

Neither Labour nor National polled enough electorate votes to form majority governments on their own, so either Labour or National, whichever polled the most electorate votes, formed an MMP coalition government with smaller parties. During elections there was much sucking up by smaller parties to become coalition partners, so MMP government was messy. In 1999, I wondered whether the new Labour regime would equitably balance the exploitative Employment Contracts Act and money-grabbing employers with potentially disruptive unions, so all employees would have decent work conditions? The Employment Relations Act 2000 signified change.

In 1993, when we'd applied for NZ residence, there was no NZ embassy in SA and little information in SA about trekking to NZ. The status quo hardly changed in the following decade, as NZ Immigration Service only supplied pamphlets about NZ residence to applicants who'd already acquired NZ residence.

In mid 1999, Christchurch's male mayor proposed encouraging thousands of immigrants to settle in Christchurch to be wealth and job creators: code for quick transfer of immigrants' funds to bicultural pockets in the car and housing markets, and other markets. There was no talk of creating wealth and permanent jobs for unemployed professional immigrants already living in Christchurch.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See MMP's First Decade in NZ, and Other NZ Government Matters.

2007. NZ Canterbury Spirit and WINZ Hassles, 1999

< 2000. Esslemonts & Mackintosh, Little River Bird Sanctuary.

We saw more royalty in Christchurch than we ever saw in London. Once when the queen visited we stood on a tram-stop bench and waved. The yellow-dressed queen frowned at our boys through a tram window, while her tram squashed coins we'd placed on the tramline. Later prince Andrew stared at Agricultural and Pastoral Show cattle, while we stared at him during a Show Day public holiday. In 2005, we saw balding prince William on TV, while he watched the British Lions losing to the All Blacks.

I supported Canterbury Crusaders and All Blacks when they won, and supported Natal Sharks and Springboks when they won. For years I watched boys, grown into men, whom I'd taught in SA, playing for the Springboks and Protea cricket teams. Professional All blacks bleatingly lost 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 World Cups. When I saw sports hakas, I thought of constipated babies. Enjoying Kiwi rugby -mania, I supported All Blacks, while losing contact with SA.

Red-and-black Canterbury spirit showed when I took Jake to a Ranfurly Shield match between Canterbury Crusaders and blue -and-gold Otago at Jade Stadium. Fans, with painted faces, waved flags and banners. Crusader fans waved foam-rubber swords. An Otago fan waved a blue-and-gold paper mache chain-saw. Cops scowled beneath floodlights when fans flung empty, plastic beer bottles. Before the match, dancing girls jiggled tits and butts, and waved pompoms and legs, while Crusader horsemen trotted round the field. At half-time 21 girls waving to fans cleaved on 21 Harley Davidsons roaring round the pitch. At match-end, fireworks exploded above, and drunks swayed. Canterbury women enjoyed the show, like their men: "Go Cannabry Go!"

Canterbury spirit showed at annual Ray Blank Park Culture Galore festivals, celebrating ethnic music and dancing; national costumes; singing; food; crafts of many immigrant nationalities. I'm intrigued why Kiwis who protested against apartheid, during the 1981 Springbok rugby tour, where silent when post-apartheid SA had excessive rapes, murders, bombings, corruption, racist employment quotas, theft? I'm intrigued why Kiwi Black Caps cricketers toured Zimbabwe in 2005, when Mugabe destroyed thousands of squatter dwellings, making 700 000 citizens jobless and homeless? Why the Kiwi one-eyed morality for blacks and whites? (Christine Lamb, House of Stone, HarperCollins, London, 2006).

Jake's decile 5 Hillmorton High School had international students, who paid high fees. Jake's Post Primary Teachers Association unionised teachers didn't regularly mark his classwork. Assessments and exams were marked. For five years, no teacher inspired Jake to do extra-curricular sport. I thought Hillmorton teachers had failed in their duty of care to develop consistent excellence in at least one senior subject and one extra-curricular activity of Jake's. His senior subjects and ECA were badly managed, which didn't inspire Jake, nor impress me.

WINZ letters addressed us as, "you and our partner." As Leah and I'd been married for over two decades, I complained to Gosling about Leah's, "partner" designation. Gosling wrote,"I agree we should be able to adjust the wording to reflect our specific customer's particular situation, however this is not an easily rectifiable task..." (WINZ letter December 1998). WINZ designated me a, "customer." I therefore benefitted bureaucrats incapable of matching professional immigrants to professional jobs.

In May 1999, Gosling wrote to Leah: "You are now required to be actively seeking and available for part-time work for a minimum of 15 hours per week... or your payments may stop." We'd regularly informed WINZ (and former Income Support) by telephone and in writing of Leah's work, which exceeded 15 hours/week during school terms. Gosling either ignored our communications, or didn't get them.

WINZ touted "training" for unemployed people, who kept statisticians and researchers busy with training trends. Training establishments were busy training and applying for taxpayer funding. Taxpayers kept the unemployed, trainers, WINZ employees and Inland Revenue busy. Taxpayers kept Wellington lolly-scramblers busiest of all. When a SA immigrant told me he was applying for a WINZ job I said, "Only the brain-dead work for WINZ."

Wanting to classify me, "Invalid," on an Invalid's benefit, eligible for a study grant, Gosling sent me to a WINZ designated Quack, who glanced at my audiologists' reports, then complained about, "stupid questions" in the 11 page WINZ Invalid Medical Assessment form she had to complete. The Edinburgh trained Quack didn't empathize with my deafness, nor my professional unemployment. She said working in a nursery was good for me. "Not in bad weather," I said.

The designated Quack advised WINZ: "Profoundly deaf. Fit for part-time work only. Could apply for tertiary training." (WINZ Designated Doctor Medical Assessments, May 1999, October 1999). I wondered how Quacks became experts about jobs and training, as well as medical matters?

Gosling wrote: "I am unable to grant an Invalid's benefit. You can ask for any decision we make to be reviewed." (WINZ letter June 1999). WINZ wasted my resources, and dumbed me down by manipulating compliant Quacks. I complained. Gosling, on-the-job for over 12 years, was apologetic about sending me on goose-chases, but unremorseful. Her scheme to massage dole statistics by transferring my name from dole beneficiary to Invalid beneficiary had failed.

When I asked why I had to trek 18km return trips to meetings at Sydenham WINZ office, when Riccarton or Hornby WINZ offices were nearer my Oakland's home, Gosling wrote: "I am sorry to hear that the location of the Sydenham office is not convenient for you. Unfortunately the Halswell district does fall under the Sydenham zone." (Ibid November 1999).

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Christchurch City Libraries Historical Agricultural and Pastoral Show Day Photos.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 1999, Christchurch Hassles and SA Dispatch

Kiwis sometimes debated the legal age of consensual sex (as paroled paedophiles roamed, protected by name suppression, and the sex-trade boomed in Manchester Street with under 18 year old girls soliciting and being pimped), and whether 18 year olds could buy alcohol. Despite debauches in Hagley Park Classical Sparks Shows, the legal drinking age was dropped, with a concomitant rise in teenager boozing, hooning and car crashes. In 2007, three 15 year old school girls were killed in a road crash near Lincoln, and months earlier two street-partying schoolgirls were killed, and others injured, by a booze-fueled hoon in Edgeware Road.

Cigarette sales to under 18s were forbidden. Those "children" could be in the army; incurring huge student-loan debts; working; driving a car; pregnant. At Age 15 Jake and Luke could get restricted learners' drivers licences, like asking a kid to play with a live hand grenade.

Car driving youths (expediently designated "Youth Rates" for employers' payroll purposes), forbidden to smoke or drink, could pick fruit in orchards, and work in businesses, supermarkets and fast-food joints. After school hours, supermarket counter-attendants prettily improved. Jake picked and packed raspberries and strawberries during holidays, working with adults doing an adult job, yet was paid Youth Rates. (Tim McBride, NZ Civil Rights Handbook, Legal Information Services Inc., Auckland, 2001). During high school, Jake earned pocket-money as a kitchen-hand in a Scenic Circles hotel. By ages 14 and 9 Jake and Luke both received their Inland Revenue tax numbers. Inland Revenue prided itself as an efficient tax department.

Computer job-searches in libraries attested to low Youth Rates and low wages paid to job-seekers. Some employers didn't advertise hourly rates, but advertised "wages negotiable." Employer evasions I heard: "Sorry no money... No funding... Wasn't budgeted for... Your contract says... We regret... Sorry on this occasion... No jobs... CV too long... CV too short... You're too old... over qualified... under qualified... It's good for NZ... We're researching... We advise..."

Tourist information didn't describe child abuse; youth suicides; youth sleep-outs - excuses for weak parenting ("Mary sleeps at Wahine's house, so Mary needn't catch the late bus home;") sleep-out boozing, drugging, fornication, fights, cops; abortions; boy-racers; Christchurch early 90s Civic Creche parents', children's, and supporters' mass-hysteria about alleged child abuse; over-40s unemployment; low dole; teenagers and "partners" flatting on the dole; high rental and mortgage costs, and low wages; whore taxation; refugee unemployment; bureaucratic inertia; cannabis; gangs; infanticide; unsolved murders; Maori and Pakeha fears, abuse and dumbing-down of immigrants; dobbing-in Kiwis in the Roaring Forties; earthquakes; North Island Flooding; Mainland freezing; tsunamis; eutrophic lakes Forsythe and Ellesmere; sewage in Kaiapoi River; high Eschericia coli count in Selwyn and Avon Rivers; fatty sausages; fat Kiwis...

March 1999. Alleman's dispatch: "At a Pretoria bus-station, two vagrants raped a white student, who was then raped by 12 drunks, vagrants, out-of -works as well. She's alive, but probably got Aids. About quarter of the population will get Aids [1.5 million deaths are predicted over the next 5 years, with over 30 000 deaths per month in KwaZulu-Natal by 2005: Another friend's letter, December 1999.] Our medical-aid contributions will soar, as formal-sector employees must belong to medical-aid schemes. We'll pay for millions of Aids patients. Almost anyone qualifies as a 'family member.'

Why I won't vote for the ANC in the 1999 election: It won't be a free-fair election, as millions of disqualified voters didn't have the right ID books. It's their right to vote, but ANC doesn't adequately administer their right. What's the point of the 'struggle' if black suffrage is blocked?

ANC government brought apartheid back disguised in a new language. Remember 'apartheid' changed to 'separate development? Apartheid was bad because it was done by whites (minority), but if it's done by blacks (majority) it's OK. ANC government states it's lawful to discriminate against white males, making them second-class citizens. When apartheid government discriminated, it was 'morally offensive,' but now a black government discriminates, Big-Business and intellectuals can't 'Ja Baas' quick enough. Just as Afrikaners cooperated with the Nats, so blacks cooperate with the ANC.

ANC voted into government, huge majority, immediately 'contracts' government to the SACP. Communists hold every power-position in the ANC government. There's so little difference between the two political parties, almost every power-position is given to the SACP. ANC states it doesn't support communism, but ANC doesn't differ greatly from it. ANC has few competent people, while communists have many. Maybe the 2004 election will show the real ANC. [ANC was involved with SACP decades before apartheid died: RW Johnson, South Africa, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2004].

SA turns tribal - the essence of New SA's problems. No one in power has done an apprenticeship. SA is run by people learning while they're earning. [Like finance minister Manuel: Allister Sparks, Beyond the Miracle, Profile Books, London, 2003]. Corruption, inefficiency, violence, lawlessness have escalated. In local government there's inefficiency and wastage. An 8 year old drives pop's Ford V6 140 kays per hour, smashing everything. If you criticize you're a racist, or a counter-revolutionary. Pick!

They talk about democracy, but power is centralized. Millions of jobs are destroyed in the first- world economic sector, (there're millions unemployed) because of labour laws that kill initiative. Like the old Nats, ANC doesn't understand business. ANC sees 'profit' as a dirty word. A new agreement between municipalities and unions makes it impossible to privatize. One clause specifies a contractor must declare profit, ensuring he isn't making 'too much.' Why do people with no initiative try to punish prosperous risk-takers?

ANC has improved control of central government finances. ANC refused to overspend on the budget. ANC removed high-interest-rate Stals from the Reserve Bank, replacing him with Mboweni. ANC hasn't prioritized spending. While ANC refused to overspend at central government level, cop-shops have no vehicle petrol. Schools are without water and electricity. Government departments are locked -out of buildings, as they haven't paid rent.

SANDF blackens fast, a shadow of the former SADF. Will this cause a coup de etat like in other African states? I don't believe new soldiers have the neutral professionalism we inherited from Britain."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

2007. NZ: Deaf Trekker and Waitangi, 1999

< 1999. Gran Mackintosh's Birthday with Esslemonts, Oaklands, Christchurch.

The dominion of NZ had a wobbly economy, improved annually by thousands of multiracial immigrants. Regarding NZ's Maori-protecting, 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, and subsequent Maori Land Wars, and Maori land confiscations, and rebellions; and buying of Maori land by the Crown, settlers and speculators on the North and South Islands; and the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act; (Douglas Graham, Trick or Treaty, Victoria University, Wellington, 1997); the 1985 Waitangi Tribunal Amendment Act; and Treaty Principals; and Waitangi Claims and Fiscal Envelope payments, we'd visited Waitangi in June 1995. (Alan Ward, An Unsettled History, Treaty Claims in NZ Today, Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 1999).

Since then on annual Waitangi Days, we'd seen on TV Maori tribes; Maori men paddling wakas; Maori men doing hakas; Maori women swinging poi balls; Labour PM Clark being reduced to tears by Maori; PM Clark visiting Okains Bay instead of Waitangi the next year; National leader Brash getting a clod thrown at him by Maori; a Maori man pot-shotting a flag on a lawn.

The Treaty of Waitangi formalized a NZ colony by Britain, which had feared French interests in NZ, like French settlers in Akaroa. Later Waitangi Acts ensured taxpayers paid Maori for 19th century wars and land confiscations from Maori in areas like Taranaki. (David Slack, Bullshit, Backlash and Bleeding Hearts, Penguin Books, Auckland, 2004). Maori Waitangi Treaty dispossession claims were like SA blacks in 2150 making apartheid claims from future SA generations.

Waitangi Treaty made no provisions for thousands of Asian, Pacific Islander and European trekkers, like us, arriving post-Waitangi, creating jobs and growing NZ's economy. Would my trekker sons be forced to pay restitution for Maori dispossession claims which perennially flourished? Was that the price we paid for residence, Maori reserved-MPs, a "bicultural" country, state-savings schemes, Baby Boomer state pensions?

Maori and Pakeha "biculturalism" ignored thousands of annual immigrants. Pakeha had European ancestors, and Maori had Asian and European ancestors, diluting Maori genealogy whakapapas. If NZ was a "bicultural" society, where did wittering "biculturalism" leave cultures of recent immigrants, like Asians, expected to devote their lives, finances and expertise to NZ? Where did "biculturalism" leave my family with our Boer-Brit whakapapas? Maori and Pakeha "biculturalism" was questionable, as My Christchurch was clearly multicultural. By 2007, there were more Asians living in Christchurch than Maori. Having had Afrikaner kultuur foisted on me during apartheid, then being expected to identify with African cultures and heritage after apartheid, I was wary of divisive culture politics.

NZ media sometimes reported Maori advocating their tribes (iwi), claiming from the Waitangi Tribunal colonial dispossession of lands, estates, fisheries, forests and other assets like oil and gas reserves during and after 1860s. Although there were only about 3000-4000 Ngai Tahu Maori when Waitangi Treaty was signed, and although post-Waitiangi Ngai Tahu had sold 80% of the South Island to the Crown, Waitangi Tribunal paid Ngai Tahu $170 million "Fiscal Envelope" dollars. (Ibid Slack). Aoraki Mount Cook was "settled" to Ngai Tahu, which eventually returned Aoraki to the nation, as nowadays only a few score Maori lived in the Mount Cook region. Near Oaklands, Wigram Airport was given to Ngai Tahu, and old airport dwellings were renovated and sold.

Modern immigrants losing their homelands, wealth, professional work and families, were also disppossessed.

Jake and Luke learnt Maori at school, like they also learnt Spanish and Japanese, but insufficient to be fluent in those languages. As a NZ resident, I must acknowledge the Waitangi Treaty as the founding document of NZ society, but the "we are all one people" (nation) uttered by William Hobson, while signing the treaty, sounded strange, given present "biculturalism," iwi divisions and demands for reinstated ownership of NZ fisheries and foreshore, or ownership of electromagentic waves. (Ibid Graham). Hobson's treaty conned Maori, as the Maori version acknowledged chiefly authority, but the English version acknowledged British law and government (Ibid Slack). When Kiwis accepted multiethnicity and independence from mommy Britain (with Governors General and New Years Honours' lists and toadying British royalty), then the Treaty of Waitangi would be irrelevant.

< 1999. Esslemonts and Gran Mackintosh at Lake Coleridge.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Treaty of Waitangi.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 1999, SA Dispatch and Family, NZ Pig Dog

< 1999. Esslemonts, Rose Garden, Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Alleman's February 1999 dispatch: "Elderly (especially on farms) assaulted and maimed daily. Headline: 'Lightning kills Transkei child.' His family butchered another family of 5, including women and children, as they believed his family bewitched the lightning. In Richmond, the army tries to stop the politico-butchering of blacks - 11 shot dead in one house, babies as well. Killing is out of control. If you open your front door, you're shot, and your home gets stripped.

Some hospitals closed in the Free State, as provincial government was financially overdrawn, and collapsed. Local matric results were massively raised to hide that education hadn't collapsed. Our local black school's matric pass is officially 42%, but it's really under 20%. Many subjects were condoned. Black pupils got 'free' percentage points, because it's 'unfair' to study and write in a non home language. Although I'm an Afrikaner, I wrote all my school exams in English. Average percentages for matric '98 for all schools (most 'white' schools still attain 100% pass): English second language HG-40%; Maths HG-34%; Maths SG-21%; Science HG-36%; Science SG-32%; Biology HG-28%; Biology SG-26%; Geography HG-27%; Accounting HG-35%; Typing SG-37%.

Big skills shortage, and emigrants still leave in droves. 'Immigrants' from Nigeria (many drug dealers), Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Congo arriving. Some suburbs overrun by Nigerians. Remember Muizenberg? If you want to sell, you won't be able to give your property away. Muizenberg hotels are all closed. Most tourist shops closed. One chemist shop open. In Cape Town, there's urban war between police and radical Muslim groups - army called in.

I'm on the Koffiefontein council, and we're trying to get people to register to vote in the upcoming election. Only 1 million of the 24 million eligible voters in SA are registered. Our council cut off electricity and water to government buildings including schools, police, agriculture, welfare. Since agriculture was behind in rent we locked them out. Chaos!

Many roads are not being maintained. Some Eastern Cape farm roads are only usable by 4x4s. Government vets are unable to test cattle for contagious diseases in the Free State, as they're trying to teach blacks to farm. Result may be that Free State farmers won't export cattle. A Scottish learner-mining-engineer was caught drug-pushing in Kimberley. Old Mutual is demutualizing (Sanlam did months ago). I got a letter saying I'm entitled to R20 000 free Old Mutual shares by years' end."

Leah's mom lived alone in her 294 Freemantle Road, Mount Vernon home, where she'd lived for 36 apartheid years. Chatsworth Indians bought houses around her. Tenants in her home weren't an option, as the law had changed, favouring tenants. Her post box was rifled by tsotsis. She feared door-knockers, as elderly people were attacked in their homes. She burglar-guarded windows. She had security-gates installed inside and outside her house. She feared gardening, which she'd enjoyed for years. She sold her home to Indians, who replaced her picket fence with a concrete wall and razor-wire. It was the land Leah's granddad had bought, and Leah's dad was born there, and he'd lived his entire life there.

Leah's mom moved to a Pennington motel, where she lived with her sister and brother-in-law, who'd fortified the motel he'd bought. Leah's sister Jay was mugged in 'Maritzburg. She also escaped carjacking by accelerating along a car verge, and cell-phoning for help. Her health deteriorated. Her son's company car was wrecked, when a car escaping carjackers crashed into it. Tired of Zulus shitting in his Umbilo garden, Leah's uncle Rob sold his home and also moved to Pennington. Rob got liver cancer and died in Jo'burg.

Leah's brother Gee's home was burgled. He trekked between Jo'burg and Congo as a rough diamond dealer. Leah's sister Beb's unemployed husband considered working in PE and flying home to Durban every three weeks. He got a job in 'Maritzburg, driving daily from Durban. Leah's cousin survived rape by a Zulu robber, who tried gnawing her finger off to steal her ring. The Zulu's coloured mate stopped the rape, and locked her in a cupboard. Another cousin's car was stolen in Durban. AK-47s rattled in townships at night.

Despite misgivings, we'd made a safe immigration decision, as Christchurch was peaceful. Shops near our Oaklands home had no burglar-guards and burglar-guards in Oaklands homes were unheard of. We needed permission from Pretoria before we applied for NZ citizenship, otherwise we'd lose our SA citizenship. We'd lost our birthright to postal-vote in SA elections, as SA didn't allow postal -voting for expats. I complained to our honorary-consul who said, "Monetary constraints. Hopefully 2004 will be different."

A year after our arrival, we'd swotted NZ road rules, including peculiar turning rules, and got our NZ drivers' licences. Three years later, we had to get our green-card photo-drivers'-licences, again doing written and oral tests. Two years later, Leah had to get another photo-licence. Ditto me, five years later - all costly. Who had access to the Land Transport NZ, national data-base storing our digital -photos and medical and personal details?

Road-kill possums polluted NZ roads. Garden hedgehogs were the most dangerous beasts we met. Dole-bludging gangsters were sometimes mentioned in the media, but the most dangerous NZ adult we met was our neighbour, a bowl-playing pansy-man. Another neighbour, Vietnam veteran, mowed my berm, as his dog shat on our grass. Another teacher neighbour was a croquet champion.

Kiwis complained a lot. Some were proud of being 1981 Springbok tour protestors. Maori sometimes invaded council parks, or protest -marched on parliament. Women customers bollocked teenagers trying to learn their fast-food jobs. Kiwis complained if they couldn't buy gardening products during public holidays. They wandered about spraying poisons: polluting berms and swales. Jasmine, Japanese honeysuckle, kaffir lilies were Mainland noxious weeds. Sprayed areas in our local park resembled sandveld, as council herbicides stained the soil pink. Berms, ditches, park fences were swathed with dead grass, poisoned orange. Kiwis massacred wild pigs, deer, exotic weeds, insects and fungi. 1080 poison killed rabbits, cyanide killed possums. Farmers illegally introduced a virus, killing more rabbits - effective briefly. Akaroa shell-fishing was sometimes stopped due to biotoxin water pollution.

While Leah taught SLD students, I played many parts: definite Deaf Man; Deaf Husband; Deaf Dad; Dad's Taxi; Mechanic; Odd Jobber; Bookkeeper; Housekeeper; Launderer; Cook; Cleaner; Gardener; Compost Boss; Fisherman; Writer; Wraith. And Pig Dog.
< 1999. Esslemont Brothers, Oaklands, Christchurch.

When friends invited us to their Little River bog-farm, I offered to bring wine, but the farmer's wife who'd lived all her life on the farm said, "Bring yourwa gumboots?"

When I drove past a Little River paddock Luke said, "I've seen an elephant." There stood a circus white elephant, browsing far from home.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 1998-1999, NZ Article, Natal Letters and SLD Teaching

< 1998. Esslemonster's Bath Time, Oaklands Christchurch.

On 14/11/1998 The Press wrote: "Unemployment rates of up to 100 percent amongst some Christchurch refugee groups is frightful but not unexpected. Support organizations have been warning for years that prospects are bleak for refugees, and NZ has a depressing record of messing up its handling of migrants.

Unlike other wealthy nations that accept migrants, NZ is casual and inadequate in what it does to help migrants fit in. Australia provides two years of language training... Here the process is almost wholly left to voluntary groups, which are worked to the bone in the process."

Forced language competence wasn't essential for jobs. In African multi -lingual countries, thousands of African illiterates worked for employers, with employers being clueless about native languages, and natives being clueless about employers' languages. Interpreters were legion. Will of NZ employers to create well paid jobs was essential. Shipley's National government media campaign encouraged dobbing-in of dole fraudsters, when "fraud" was usually benefit overpayment by lickspittles in National government departments. As it was impossible to live decently on the dole, taxpayers' money could've been better spent creating permanent well paid jobs.

After my letters to Fraser were returned to NZ, Fraser's lawyer wrote that Town Hill Hospital had transferred Fraser to Sunnyside Farm, Bulwer after Fraser had been a Town Hill inmate for nine years. Town Hill had helped Fraser physically, but hadn't rehabilitated Fraser, which was Addington Hospital's reason for certifying Fraser to Town Hill in the first place. Town Hill's superintendent still didn't write to me, but had decertified Fraser and transferred him to Sunnyside without my knowledge or consent a year before. Fraser wrote: "Sunnyside's climate is harsh." Survivor Fraser did gardening, and enjoyed unauthorized Berg hikes. Unemployable Fraser had to pay Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society for his Sunnyside board and lodging, which came from his lawyer-invested estate.

In January 1999, old Durban North friend Charlie wrote this about SA and London, where he worked: "UK papers are full of job adverts. There're many SA temps in London (more than before) trying to find employment, as opposed to holiday touring. There're no job adverts in SA papers we read. Everyone we speak to moans about jobs. An acquaintance was ousted from her manager job in 'Maritzburg. She was then offered a deputy job at R3000 less than her previous pay...

In Durban North, my sister lets her daughters walk to Broadway shops by themselves, which she didn't allow in 1996 when we visited them...

My sister-in-law, vice-principal, advises: 'Whites want to leave SA, myself included. Affirmative-action is serious - only blacks get jobs. Standards continue to drop. White teachers do all the work, carrying black colleagues. Our daughter will emigrate next month, as she won't get employment. My brother, varsity lecturer, is concerned about dropping standards. The Education Department is bankrupt, so teachers fear pension losses. Money is wasted. Salary increases - nil - below inflation. No sign of improvement.'"

Seabrook McKenzie Centre referred psychologically tested SLD students to Leah, who remediated primary and intermediate students' learning disabilities, using her SA and London expertise and recent NZQA ratified SLD diploma, to remediate NZ students' Specific Learning Disabilities, which NZ mainstream primary and high school teachers were unable to cope with, or were untrained to remediate. (Only in 2007 was dyslexia belatedly acknowledged by NZ Education Minister as a learning disability).

Leah soon became an expert SLD teacher, with two SLD diplomas, ratified by NZQA. Leah lectured and mentored experienced Kiwi teachers and tertiary students. She advised and consulted with parents, experts and interested people. Yet bureaucrats had stopped Leah teaching year one in NZ schools.

Leah tutored at Seabrook McKenzie Centre, at home and at various schools. I wrote to the alcoholic headmaster of the school where Leah mostly worked, complaining about Leah's low pay. He offered Leah more teacher-aide hours, missing the fact that many teacher-aides were unqualified class-helpers. Leah was a qualified and internationally experienced teacher, providing professional service as a teacher-aide. The school used her expertise, but didn't supplement her teacher-aide pay with an allowance recognizing her specialist skills. When I asked the BOT chairman about an allowance for Leah, he glared at me like I was mad.

The Ministry of Education (School Support Limited) marginally increased Leah's hourly teacher-aide pay. Leah resigned as teacher -aide, and did better-paid SLD tutoring, which she enjoyed. By offering low hourly pay, the headmaster lost Leah. Yet his school BOT was applying for state-funding for a new school hall. When the penny dropped, the headmaster ensured Leah got full teacher registration. Despite all this, the dole supplemented Leah's tutor pay.

Luke planted an acorn in our Oaklands garden, and the young oak grew tall and strong in Canterbury dry summers. Jake attended Hillmorton High school with Pacific Islander, Maori, Pakeha, Asian and overseas pupils.

Leah's dad died of strokes in Durban. We mourned, but Leah couldn't fly to the funeral, as we couldn't afford airfares. Some of Leah's Auckland expat friends attended. Their sons had grown into men in NZ. On their arrival in Jan Smuts, the public address announced, "You can use any taxis. They're all safe." They reported that after several years' absence, the cost of living and white beggars in Durban had increased.

Gillie was carjacked in Durban. Gillie fought and stabbed a Zulu carjacker, while another drove Gillie's white VW beetle, then stopped, and ran away.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid SA - NZ, 1998, SA Dispatches and NZ Reckoning

< 1998. Jake Esslemont learning to ski, Porter Heights.

Alleman's August 1998 dispatch: "Our mad society deteriorates. Jo'burg's population is now 8 million. I'm still unaffected by unabated emigration, especially young qualified people; daily killing and maiming (Kenya style) of farmers and their families; road accidents; carjackings; cash-in-transit heists; shoot-outs and bomb-outs between cops and Moslems, between Moslems and gangs and drug lords, between political opponents [Allister Sparks, Beyond the Miracle, Profile Books, London, 2003]. Ballon's daughter, motoring between Bloem and Kimberley, drove into a cash-in-transit heist. She was held hostage with AK-47s and was lucky to escape alive. Richmond civil war: They bring in cops and soldiers, but killing continues amongst political factions.

Bloem shoot-out between soldiers and cops, as soldiers robbed banks. Cops won the shoot-out, killing 2 and arresting 2. Gaols bulge with prisoners. Revolving door policy - felons are gaoled, then quickly released. Many white cops want severance packages. If this happens we're lost, as only white cops and soldiers (Koos van der Merwe) stop collapse.

Municipalities are bankrupt. Provincial politicians interfering locally cause more confusion. Central government is trying to bypass local government. Our local government sponsors a tribal dancing competition - first prize R10 000. Koffiefontein's skilled people will struggle to organize the forthcoming election. For almost a year in Transkei there's no money for running costs. Everyone goes to work, sits around for 8 hours, then goes home. There's no money for petrol, diesel and electricity bills. Government only has money for salaries. Government is passing the Employment Equity Bill, first law discriminating against whites in employment - an apartheid law phrased differently. [Verwoerd's quotas for whites: Hermann Giliomee, The Afrikaners, Hurst & Company, London, 2003]. Sport must be controlled by political appointments (ANC).

Many platteland black schools have stopped functioning. Locally, they have 2 passes out of 80 matriculants in mid year exams. There are less black matriculants from black schools than during apartheid. At work, I'm forbidden to do psychometric tests. We must appoint on potential. How'd you like to be operated on by a guy with potential to be a doctor? Medical services are collapsing. Orphanages and old age homes going under, as government either cuts subsidies, or says, 'We can't pay what we owe you.' They're negotiating with our municipality to pay us arrears later on.

While government services disintegrate major job opportunities arise. Just the private sector functions properly. Whites open their own businesses. Some make megabucks. Others lose. As the Rand drops (30% last year), export businesses make megabucks. Rising black personal debt is scary, yet government encourages it. White moneylenders make money.

Cash-in-transit heist near Bloem, by a gang of 20 armed robbers. English farming family murdered in George and set alight. A Porsche crashed head-on into a Combi near Durbs - 12 dead. Shoot-out between Boksburg and squatter-camp residents." (7 million blacks live in SA squatter-camps - numbers rapidly increasing: David Goodman, Fault Lines, Journey Into The New South Africa, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999).

On 20/08/98 an Aussie mining-engineer with whom I'd played Koffiefontein hockey wrote this about Australia: "Unemployment has settled at about 8%. Some parts of Australia are doing better than others. Western Australia has done well recently, because of the mining industry, but that could soon change. Tasmania and South Australia are declining, as are most rural communities. People with specialized skills often do well in the bush, because of skill shortages, but others battle... You can fall on hard times, particularly as the Asian slowdown begins to bite here... I imagine being a South African in NZ when the All Blacks just lost their fourth successive test would be strange - funny how the NZ government nearly crashed a week later."

SA teacher friends, who'd emigrated to Canada, told us they'd had to start Canadian teaching on lower pay than they had in SA, and had to retrain to improve their pay. It was hard for their adult offspring to obtain student loans in Canada.

Charlie, old Durban North friend and London accountant, sent me London job ads, and offered to pay for my London flight for me to seek work. I declined Charlie's kind offer, as London labouring looked as bad in 1998 as it was for me in 1981.

I wrote this reckoning to Leah on 28/10/98: "In our 3.5 years' living in Christchurch we've lost $70 000 - derived from your 7 years' work, over 20 years' my work, and mom's R50 000 inheritance. Although we bought 2 second-hand cars and some furniture in NZ, we brought the rest of our chattels from SA. Most of our money has gone on food, living expenses and rent - about $30 000 to date. Every month since our arrival, our expenditure has exceeded our income.

Living in Christchurch, we'll soon be destitute. I don't want to continue living on handouts. Do you? Every job you and I've done in Christchurch has paid poorly. Our income from education / industry / dole doesn't meet our modest needs.

Are our boys' schooling / tertiary education prospects better than in SA? I don't see us paying for our boys' tertiary education. I don't see us buying our own NZ home.

My hundreds of NZ job applications over four years were an exercise in despair and futility. Will you be studying for more Kiwi qualifications? You're already qualified and experienced teaching children with learning disabilities, and that teaching doesn't earn enough income to stop destitution. I don't want our sons slipping into student-loan debt. Our overseas educations, skills and work experiences are used by Kiwis, but we're not well paid. Big question: Why do Kiwis emigrate?

Our NZ prospects are penury and splintered family (if I get work elsewhere), state dole, state Family Assistance and state housing, none of which appeals to me. The $5000 we have left in the bank will be gone by March 1999."

< 1998. Mark Esslemont's 47th Birthday, Oaklands, Christchurch.

Leah read my reckoning, and said zilch, as she wanted to live in NZ.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.