Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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.

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