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Zenophobia and thuggery

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Brian
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« on: April 15, 2015, 08:23:19 AM »

This was written by one of my best friends and a former colleague Bongani Khonjwayo:

"Lets use all platforms and chatrooms and all forms of communication to condemn this inhuman dibilitating xenophobic scourge. What type of a nation that does not listen to its leadership? What has happened to our conscience as a peace loving and neighbourly people in South Africa? Are we now saying through our actions that apartheid was better? Are we saying our people who died in the frontiers of war against apartheid died in vain? Are we saying people who sacrificed their lives in the African diaspora in support of our fight against apartheid did that in vain? Are we saying that Nelson Mandela and others deserved to be imprisoned for 27 years? Are we saying black on black violence that was sponsored by the apartheid regime as our national freedom was ushered in was right? Are we saying Dr Verwoed was right when he said natives cannot think for themselves? Are we saying the dompas system of identification was right? Are ee saying the work seekers permit system which required a man to undress infront of a white young Afrikaans speaking officer to examine if you were free from sexual deseases to qualify for work seekers permit was right? This cannot be the South African nation that we fought to free from slavery. NO TO XENOPHOBIA NO."

Please feel free to share if you support his impassioned plea.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 09:36:28 AM »

What type of a nation that does not listen to its leadership?

The best type.

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Are we saying people who sacrificed their lives in the African diaspora in support of our fight against apartheid did that in vain?

Pretty much any death for any cause will be in vain eventually. The wheels of history tend to turn in vicious cycles. The question is usually whether you think the temporary benefit gained was worth it.

Anyway, while I feel for the guy's stance I've come to realize posting any such kind of plea online is akin to preaching to the choir. The people doing this stuff don't do internets.

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Brian
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 09:43:29 AM »

Bongani did say:  "use all platforms and chatrooms and all forms of communication to condemn this inhuman dibilitating xenophobic scourge." ...and I think you underestimate the spread of smart phones BM.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 10:23:45 AM »

Perhaps you overestimate my level of snobbery.  Grin

I think the people engaging in this stuff are the poorest of the poor, and no I don't think smartphones have penetrated that far, nor do I think they care to waste valuable SMS/MMS money sending this message around, especially since their proclivities are already clear.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 10:25:19 AM »

Basically the eternal optimist in me is starting to break down and admit that we may soon be facing a general genocide in SA. If this trend of blaming others for poverty and then killing them continues.
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Brian
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 13:22:30 PM »

The cynic in me says its all a well-orchestrated campaign by thugs and/or political groups but that elements in the attacks are there merely to see what they can get out of looting and destroying for the sheer hell of it. Anarchy is much more fun than a job or peace. The over-used notion of 'Ubuntu" is certainly as dead as a door-nail. Mob violence has no solution except to fight fire with fire (hoses) or rubber bullets or even dogs. However the real causes of this must still be ascertained. I would love to see the king of the Zulu's arrested for hate speech and fomenting unrest.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 13:31:52 PM »

This is all so telling of the anger brewing in this country, that seemingly has nowhere to go. So any scapegoat, statue, or group can and does fill in as target. Very troubling.
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brianvds
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 14:40:54 PM »

Funny how the xenophobes complain about immigrants stealing jobs that they themselves don't want to do in the first place. How very American of us. :-)
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2015, 08:58:59 AM »

Could go in the monuments thread too

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Hermes
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2015, 14:36:38 PM »

What we are witnessing here is a failure of African nationalism.  The weak point in nationalism is always the definition of the nation.  Usually that nation does not correspond to nationality.  Be it Afrikaner nationalism of African nationalism, it seeks to discriminate between an in group and an out group.  The term African is ambiguous and could refer to either a citizen of Africa or a race group.  Whereas the African National Congress has from time to time said that South Africa belongs to everybody who lives in it, their policies are obsessed with race and the very name of the party implies that being African trumps being South African; that is to say that the Black man from across the Limpopo is more in than the White man from this side of that river.

With regards to immigration, the ANC maintains strict measures concerning prospective immigrants from other continents, but has allowed the immigration of millions of Africans from neighbouring countries even if they have very low levels of literacy.  This influx accelerated during the Mbeki-era.  Because Africa has such a vast population of very poorly skilled people, it aggravates an existing oversupply in the market for unskilled labour.  The result of such an increase in supply is of course downward pressure on wages and increased unemployment.  We know from supply and demand economics that the balance can be restored by either limiting supply or boosting demand, but not by price controls: minimum wages will never solve the problem.  Unfortunately the ANC is neither limiting supply nor boosting demand in the labour market.  On the one hand the will to control African immigration is lacking while at the same time it maintains an antagonistic relationship towards Business.  The demand side of the equation is further impeded by infrastructure failures, poor service delivery and protective labour laws.

Claiming that South African labourers don’t want to work is simply not true.  We see them queueing for daywork as gardeners on the street corner and the unsuccessful ones returning to their homes disappointedly daily.  There are those who have good jobs and then strike for higher wages of course, but that’s a simptom of labour laws that are too protective rather than an unwillingness to work.

The same oversupply situation that bedevils the unskilled labour market also affects micro businesses.  There are simply too many traders trying to sell the same wares.

The violence we see now is a reaction to this state of affairs.  It is, in essence, a failure of African nationalism.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2015, 14:55:11 PM »

... it seeks to discriminate between an in group and an out group.

Look: nationalism, patriotism, religious "affiliation", clubs, gangs, schoolyard bullying, or international power-blocks: IMHO it all harkens back to the same (fallable) human trait: Tribalism.

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... maintains strict measures concerning prospective immigrants from other continents

This bewilders, truly. I have a (highly skilled) friend who came over from the first world and for nearly 6 months couldn't work when our govt. couldn't get it's ass in gear and renew his work permit. Meanwhile, in Joburg CBD....

The problem I have is we could probably handle more of the charity-cases more easily if we made it just as easy for SKILLED, PRODUCTIVE people to work here. But we don't, we encourage the exact opposite of what we need. This has truly become the ANC's best applied skill.

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We know from supply and demand economics that the balance can be restored by either limiting supply or boosting demand

The solution is to leave it alone and let it fix itself. Supply and demand balance naturally, the trick is to not alter either artificially. That's how free markets work, any form of market manipulation is folly.

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the ANC is neither limiting supply nor boosting demand

... thus these are bad ideas anyway. The main thing the ANC need to do is to STOP getting in the way.
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brianvds
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2015, 15:26:59 PM »

Claiming that South African labourers don’t want to work is simply not true.  We see them queueing for daywork as gardeners on the street corner and the unsuccessful ones returning to their homes disappointedly daily.  There are those who have good jobs and then strike for higher wages of course, but that’s a simptom of labour laws that are too protective rather than an unwillingness to work.

Many of those sitting on street corners are in fact immigrants. :-)

I can only speak from personal exprience here; not sure whether actual studies have been done on this. Recently, the school where I work advertised several posts for teaching assistants. They need not have more than matric, and if they sent in an impressive CV or did well in an interview, even someone with lower qualifications would get the job. We received almost a hundred CVs. Of which not a single one was from a South African citizen.

The South Africans we do employ almost invariably turn out useless and get fired within a month or two.

Well, there's the South African education system in action. We have, for the past two decades, warned that we are creating a generation of completely unemployable people. Well, that generation has now hit the streets, and the chickens have come home to roost.
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Hermes
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 17:39:21 PM »

Quote
We know from supply and demand economics that the balance can be restored by either limiting supply or boosting demand

The solution is to leave it alone and let it fix itself. Supply and demand balance naturally, the trick is to not alter either artificially. That's how free markets work, any form of market manipulation is folly.

Quote
the ANC is neither limiting supply nor boosting demand

... thus these are bad ideas anyway. The main thing the ANC need to do is to STOP getting in the way.

I have no doubt that our high levels of unemployment, especially on the lowest skill levels, is among the top national priorities that needs to be addressed.  This implies that the demand for labour must be stimulated and the supply thereof, especially unskilled labour, must be curbed.  I do not propose that government should attempt this by artificial interference in the job market, but by creating an environment in which the free market system may flourish and achieve these balances.  The demand side measures I allude to in my post include being supportive of Business, providing essential infrastructure, delivering services and following labour legislation that encourages employment.  On the supply side of the equation government should curb immigration of labour categories where there already is a surplus.  I do not agree that these are bad ideas.  Failure to take these measures has created a volatile situation.  The essence of my previous post is that African Nationalist thinking is at the root of this failure.
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Hermes
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2015, 17:56:23 PM »


Many of those sitting on street corners are in fact immigrants. :-)

I can only speak from personal exprience here; not sure whether actual studies have been done on this. Recently, the school where I work advertised several posts for teaching assistants. They need not have more than matric, and if they sent in an impressive CV or did well in an interview, even someone with lower qualifications would get the job. We received almost a hundred CVs. Of which not a single one was from a South African citizen.

The South Africans we do employ almost invariably turn out useless and get fired within a month or two.

Well, there's the South African education system in action. We have, for the past two decades, warned that we are creating a generation of completely unemployable people. Well, that generation has now hit the streets, and the chickens have come home to roost.

I have on occasions employed casual labour and agree that you have a mix of South Africans and foreigners competing for the same jobs.  On your experiences in education I cannot comment, but would be careful not to extrapolate it very far.  Poor educational standards are another example of failed service delivery causing a surplus of poorly skilled labour.
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brianvds
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2015, 04:42:58 AM »

I have on occasions employed casual labour and agree that you have a mix of South Africans and foreigners competing for the same jobs.  On your experiences in education I cannot comment, but would be careful not to extrapolate it very far.  Poor educational standards are another example of failed service delivery causing a surplus of poorly skilled labour.

Many of those immigrants seeking unskilled labour are highly qualified. They are probably more clever in how they go about looking for a job, and able to make a better impression on potential employers, so that perhaps they compete our local, uneducated job seekers out of the market. But such people usually very rapidly work themselves out of poverty and, given half a chance, will become employers.

With our local people, even relatively entrepreneurial ones trying to make a living by selling stuff on street corners, I often notice a disastrous lack of creativity. For example, I often notice the same bloke trying to sell trinkets to motorists. The spot he has chosen is a traffic circle, where no one in his right mind will stop right in the middle of traffic to buy crap he doesn't need.

Some years ago, another one tried to sell avocados at a traffic light. But he only sold them in bags of, at an estimate, twenty or thirty. Who on earth buys thirty avocados at a time? I advised him to split up his produce into smaller bags, and indeed even told him that I would personally buy from him if he did (as I would have; I wasn't just saying so). But I noticed a few days later that he was still hawking his huge bags, largely unsuccessfully.

Among my students at school I notice the same lack of any hint of creativity, or engagement with their school work or indeed even with life itself. They thoughtlessly plod along, secure in the knowledge that the government will look after them. They get this attitude from their parents, I presume. I now and then have occasion to observe it directly. E.g. some years ago, when I worked as tutor, one of my clients had a wall sized ANC flag as only decoration in the sitting room. I had to wonder whether growing up steeped in party politics was a good thing for any kid, especially when the party in question has a reputation for making promises it can't possibly keep. A few years ago, at a different school, when I asked the teenaged students whether they didn't think it would be a good idea to try doing a bit better in their school work, I was quite openly told that they did not need to, because as soon as everything has been nationalized and redistributed, they would all have houses and cars, and thus they did not need to actually work for anything. :-)

In fact, young black South Africans of today remind me pretty much of my own generation in the middle 1980s, when us whities were at the height of our power and arrogance, and just before the sudden collapse. We were spectacularly ambitionless and undisciplined. It was a time when a white skin guaranteed you a job, even if only as some sort of protected labourer like a Railway Police officer (remember those?) or the lift operators and photostat machine operators we had in the department of manpower when I worked there in the late 1980s.

Compare this with several immigrants of my acquaintance, both black and white, who came to this country with the clothes on their backs, and now enjoy a middle class lifestyle.

Seems to me that on the whole, immigration is a good thing. Ask 19th century America.

Anyway, I'm just rambling and has kind of lost track of what the thread is about or what I was trying to say in the first place. :-)
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