Thursday, September 13, 2007

2007. Post Apartheid SA Dispatch and NZ Employment Contracts Act, 1997

< 1997. Esslemonts, Gillie & Gran Mackintosh, Port Hills, Christchurch.

February 1997. Alleman's dispatch: "26 year old white man robbed of 4 hamburgers: stabbed to death by 3 black youths (2 arrested). Greek shop-owner shot dead in his Bloem shop. Cafe owner robbed in Brandfort (1 arrested). Old white woman stabbed to death in her Bloem home (1 arrested). Schoolboy stabbed by black classmates. (He's in hospital).

A year ago, matriculated applicants for Wits Technikon were tested: most had literacy / numeracy levels below standard 6. An oke phones a radio programme, saying he tried to report a crime, but cops were unwilling to investigate. He persisted, finding black cops were functionally illiterate, although they all had matric certificates: only 15% of cop intake can be white. Yet watch TV and see who's doing the most dangerous cop jobs?

A newspaper suggests the 'paying minority' considers organized resistance, like motorists removing their car number-plates, (carjackers use computer registration to trace wealthy victims), and paying taxes into trust funds, until government combats crime. Cops are ineffective. Judiciary grants bail for criminals to rob again. Bloated jails release thousands. If you commit a crime, going to jail even briefly is remote. SA is a violent criminals' paradise.

Government tries to contain costs. Some cop-shops don't have petrol, due to overspending - local government ditto. About 300 of 850 municipalities are technically bankrupt. Commerce is succeeding. The Rand fell about 30% during 1996. Lately, billions poured into SA, making the Rand stronger, pushing up market prices.

Whites are emigrating - skilled labour shortage worsens. Inflation increases when businesses increase wages to attract and keep skilled employees. Remember when cafes were owned by Greeks or Portuguese? Afrikaners now own cafes. Afrikaner small businesses proliferate. East London, King, PE are the fastest growing areas - megabucks made. Farmers move to Mozambique - 50 settled, 200 moving. Others move to the Congo. Anglo is massively moving into Africa. Executive Outcomes, SA mercenary organization, profits by propping up governments and removing others." (Jim Hooper, Blood Song, HarperCollins, London, 2003).

When I applied for Employment Service TOPS training Yam said, "You must be long-term unemployed before applying?"

When I became long-term unemployed, Workbridge chivvied: "If I do not hear from you within the next two weeks I will assume that you no longer require our services." Workbridge posted me referral letters, after I applied for upholstery, electronics and computer courses, but Workbridge failed to warn me that I'd be rejected by some course trainers, like Salvation Army, as I was overqualified. I chased geese: interviews; waiting lists; waste of my time and car resources. The electronics and computer schools I applied to both went bankrupt: overspent student-loan funding.

Although Workbridge was supposed to find work for disabled people, like me, for months Workbridge posted me letters, asking whether I'd found work. But Workbridge didn't find me work. (Workbridge letters August 1996 - March 1997).

Full waiting lists, or signed applications for courses, were dodges for trainers to forecast student numbers, then get state funding. Training unemployed people like me, or community training, was a way of extracting state funds. Taxpayer-funded training establishments parasitized youths, the unemployed like me, and the community. I wondered how many trained people got jobs, or were actually educated?

I picked apples for Scales Company at Mair, Wigram and Halswell Orchards. The Maori couple who "supervised" us were sometimes goofed on drugs. Within two years the orchards would be destroyed, as parent company Apple-Fields sold the orchards for building developments. Chow and I worked well together, as our picking pace was similar. Besides Pakeha and Maori pickers, there were Somali refugee pickers, and Zimbabwian and Asian student pickers like Chow. Pay was low. We didn't work on rainy days. After twelve years' unemployment / temp / student work, Chow finally got permanent work: cleaning Banks Peninsular public toilets.

Chow who had migrant family in Australia and USA said, "NZ is the most difficult of the three countries in which to find work. Immigrant English fluency is a problem with Kiwi employers. In America, English is not a problem for Chinese immigrants. We're employed if our English is understood." Chow left for Australia.

The Employment Contracts Act favoured employers, as contracts and minimum basic wages exploited hourly-paid workers. The Employment Service (ES) advertised work schemes and low-pay, like Task Force Green and Youth Rates. Private sector employers and ES collaborated, ensuring cheap-labour schemes were taxpayer funded, which resulted in a dearth of trained and experienced artisans.

My options were low-paid contract work; self employment, which let NZ off the wage hook; work in another country; dole. Clueless Yam didn't contact us about professional work. ES hid job paucity on computers and notice boards. Most ES advertised jobs were weeks old. Leah and I just couldn't find permanent professional work.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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