Something needs to be done to control the lawlessness among our public transport operators or more people will die needlessly.
The horrific pictures which greeted the readers of the Swazi News on Saturday tell an all-too-common Swazi story of life-changing tragedy brought on by selfishness, fear and greed. The kombi driver in question was apparently stopped at a police roadblock and found to have overloaded his kombi, thus posing a danger to the passengers and other road users (as an overloaded kombi is more likely to crash if driven at speed). He is reported to have stopped a second time, within sight of the roadblock, and loaded even more passengers, causing a traffic officer to hop on his bike and give chase, at which point the driver sped away, lost control and crashed into a concrete bus shelter.
Fourteen people were killed, 11 of them burned alive before the traumatised eyes of would-be rescuers. "...The flames were unbearable. Most of the people were using fire extinguishers from their cars. The flames were just too big. The screams from the people inside were unbearable," said an eyewitness. Now some people have criticised the police officer for chasing after the kombi but, really, what is the job of the police? Is it not to chase and catch those who place others’ lives and safety in danger? We need proper public transport in this country, not a rag-tag collection of thugs and hooligans who do as they will on the roads and then risk people’s lives to escape a E60 spot fine. Perhaps it’s time to nationalise the industry.
Another bullet in the foot
What is Cabinet thinking? Perhaps they think that by coming down hard on
the teachers they will make a loud enough statement to stop the perennial unrest which has gripped our country over the last few years. Unfortunately, the collateral damage to the nation is just too high a price to pay. While government makes its stand in an attempt to gain credibility, it is undermined by its very own incompetence.
Firstly, the incompetence in carrying out the plan – one teacher was fired on her first day at work for being ‘on strike’ but also the incompetence in having a government that lacks a coordinated vision for the future of the nation.
Firing teachers without due procedure and planning to hire new, inexperienced ones in their place is bad enough, not to mention trying to integrate them into the school syllabi, but what to make of firing entire schools full of teachers, thus shutting down access to education completely? They have also made a hero out of Sibongile Mazibuko and her colleagues, singling out her and two other SNAT executives for dismissal, meaning a guaranteed fight in the courts. Government is lashing out like a drunk in pain. There is no plan to this mayhem, just a need to stop the loud noise. But the noise won’t stop because it is of government’s own making.
Crunching the numbers
Only a terminally mathematically challenged group of people would propose
to solve our wage bill crisis by hiring more employees, yet these are apparently the people in charge of our government which has decided to start hiring again at speed; not only more police officers and warders but another 600 civil servants in total.
Vincent Dlamini, Secretary General of NAPSAWU inexplicably welcomed the move, giving the nod to a tactic which will, without a doubt, force the wage bill over the edge and create such dire economic conditions that civil servants will have to be retrenched in the thousands in the near future when the economy finally crumbles under this government’s neglect (if the IMF recommended 7 000 retrenchments in 2010, think about how many we will need to fire now that we are scraping the bottom of the our national reserves barrel and we are adding hundreds of workers to our wage bill).
It seems as if government would rather pay the entire population of the country to work for them than to change the way money is allocated, spent and misspent at the moment.
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