It’s bad, very bad!
It has been over 7 months since my last blog post and I have spent most of that time in South Africa. It wasn’t supposed to be such a long trip. In October 2018 my mother, who at that stage lived in South Africa, injured her back and was told she needed emergency surgery to fix the problem. It was fairly straightforward surgery – a laminectomy and spinal fusion – but given my mother’s age I was concerned about possible complications. I decided to go to South Africa for 6 weeks to be there in case of possible complications.
Six weeks turned into 6 months. The neurosurgeon who did the surgery made a real mess and things just went from bad to worse. During the surgery, the neurosurgeon managed to get bone cement into my mother’s venous system and not long after the surgery she suffered a bleed on the brain followed by a hydrocephalous and passed away not long after that.
The healthcare system in South Africa is just a disgrace. Most of the good healthcare professionals have emigrated and those that are left behind are so busy making money that they care about little else. During one of the heated discussions I had with the neurosurgeon about the poor standard of healthcare in South Africa, the neurosurgeon said to me, “This is South Africa, don’t expect first world standards.” Unbelievable!
The rest of the country is no better. During the six months in South Africa there were frequent periods of rolling power blackouts – referred to as load shedding. There were some days where there was no power for 8 hours. Eskom – South Africa’s state owned power utility – was once one of the world’s leading power utilities but through incompetence and mismanagement is now just a disaster. Eskom now has so much debt (in excess of US$30b) that there is no way they will ever be able to repay it. Eskom now simply relies on state funding to keep going. It is just not sustainable and it is only a question of time before South Africa becomes another failed African country like Zimbabwe. South African Airways (SAA) and the SABC – both state owned – are in no better shape.
Just how bad is Eskom? This article by The Washington Post sums it up.
In addition to all the other challenges, the unemployed masses are unhappy with the way they are being treated and have now resorted to service delivery protests to make their concerns known. These service delivery protests often take the form of buildings being burned or trucks being stoned.
This is what a recent service delivery protest in Port Elizabeth looks like from the inside of a truck. How the poor truck driver managed to keep it together I have no idea.
There is a total disregard for the rule of law and the levels of incompetence and corruption are mind boggling. It really is sad to see such a lovely country being wrecked.
It was Joseph de Maistre who once said ” Every country has the government it deserves”. If you keep on voting incompetent, self serving and corrupt politicians into power, things will keep on getting worse.