Why Africa will never be as We are!


ALearningFamily

The other week, there was ‘shock’ when I wrote, in the ‘comments’ regarding South Africa, the (my words) ‘allegedly-terrible sin which was Apartheid’. As I stated, my words, and many, many more I have written over the years are considered, factual and equable. I lived in South Africa for eighteen years, before leaving as I recognised that the country in which I lived was about to change: irrevocably and for the worst.

Let us consider the facts, of Nation States in, say Europe, the Americas, and the Mid-East, as opposed to Africa. From easily-obtained and -tabulated statistics, over the past decades, the researcher would find that in most areas of what is termed ‘civilisation’. Governments are stable, governed with democratic ideals and principles, and subject to the ‘rule of law’. North America, comprising the United States and Canada are but a shining example of widely-differing governing principles, chosen and accepted by a population, schooled and aware of their rights under the Law. South America used to be the ‘wild west’ of politics, of government changes almost annually, under military rule or paranoid dictatorship; but apart from the madmen who run Venezuela, and the Communists entrenched in Cuba, we are watching as democracy, with all its attendant failings takes a moderately firm grip across the Continent. We watch as one government is replaced by another in orderly fashion, with very few ‘leaders wriggling on the hooks.

In wider Europe, we have only the Balkans exhibiting serious dissent, as the patchwork of tribal and religious loyalties take decades to remove the stains of dictatorship such as Milosovic from their history; and Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, and the ongoing saga of Kosovo, still undecided. The Russian Federation is an area which really remains outside what I consider to be part of civilised society, with dictator Putin’s tentacles spread far, wide and stickily across  ten time zones, and the former Russian Empire’s satellite states are still both turbulent and unstable, despite all the skyscrapers and sports stadia. But politically, Europe, (not, I would hasten to add, the accursed European Union) is the ‘Gold Standard’ of political activity, with the people deciding who runs their nations; and if they are dissatisfied, those erring politicians are promptly kicked out, and the ‘people’s choice’ is then enthroned in their place. The safe, steady progress of democratic accountability gives those who have lived under this umbrella, as the systems have evolved, security, stability; and unfortunately, the sense of ‘nothing can go wrong’ which is why we just cannot get our Governments to acknowledge that there is such a thing as Islamic Fundamentalist Terror, and not just an unfortunate series of ‘mentally-deranged’ Muslims who are intent on killing as many of us as they possibly can. (But of course, I digress!)

Passing over the Muslim crescent seated around the Mediterranean, with Billions of people living under a delusion that they have a choice, when in fact they have none. Encompassing Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, along with Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Pakistan, and The Emirates: all of which espouse one or another form of theocratic rule, either by a hereditary Royal, or a polyglot bunch of religious zealots and chancers; with only Israel as the one shining Democracy in a veritable sea of autocratic and dictatorial rule.

But we should now switch our gaze to Africa, and see what decades of so-called relief from colonial rule has provided the billion-plus poor bastards who have the truly unfortunate destiny to be inhabitants of that benighted, crime-ridden continent. As there are just too many so-called nations to allow an objective view, I have tabulated a select number of those various Nations, along with their respective Governments, and listed the points which catch the eye.

 

Nation name Colonial Power Religion; or belief in Big Bearded Sky Fairy Number of Coups or Disputed Govt. changes
Mauretania France Muslim NINE
Guinea-Bissau Portugal Mixed…Muslim…Christian… whatever SIX
Guinea France Majority Muslim plus animism FIVE
Nigeria GB&NI Equally divided Muslims & christians + others ELEVEN
Ethiopia Italy, GB&NI 2/3 Christian….1/3 Muslim FOUR
Sudan GB&NI EGYPT 97% Muslim 3% Christians and Animists FIVE
Kenya GB&NI 90% Christian Muslim 10% TWO + FOUR DISPUTED ELECTIONS
Republic Congo France 99% Criminality TEN
Democratic Republic Congo Belgium 100% Criminality EIGHT or EIGHTEEN
Zambia GB&NI 95% Christian 4% mixed, 1% Muslim ZERO
Angola Portugal 99% Christian 1% Muslim THREE
Zimbabwe GB&NI 100% Christian THIRTY YEARS BLOODY DICTATORSHIP
South Africa GB&NI 97% Christian 3% Muslim ZERO

 

I wish now to quote just one paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for one nation:-….

Angola has vast mineral and petroleum reserves, and its economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, especially since the end of the civil war; however, the standard of living remains low for most of the population, and life expectancy in Angola is among the lowest in the world, while infant mortality is among the highest. Angola’s economic growth is highly uneven, with most of the nation’s wealth concentrated in a disproportionately small sector of the population.

…and then to expand on this one terrible verdict upon a land, which applies equally upon the many lands, nations,  which comprise the corruption-polluted Continent of Africa. We must ask ourselves: why the dichotomy? Why the strange and catastrophic decline in the living standards in Nations which could provide a comfortable standard of living for all its citizen? Why is the wider world standing by, while dictators rape the very earth upon which their nations lie? Why is it now, seemingly, across Black Africa, the repose of savages, thieves, ruthless dictators with the thinnest veneer of democratic sensibility laid across the obvious criminality of the Presidents, the Leaders-for-Life: whose rule is sometimes challenged by one who promises ‘elections’, while cementing his access to the national treasuries and the Swiss bank accounts?

As I stated at the beginning, I lived in South Africa for seventeen-eighteen years. I raised my family there, I had a decent standard of living; but the one thing about my life in South Africa was the simple fact that the Nationalist Government, the Afrikaaner Government: yes, the Apartheid Government was the only incorruptible ruling body in the whole of Black Africa. Forget about the howls of anger from the anti-apartheid movements in liberal Gt. Britain, in America and Canada; forget about the strong statements denouncing the fact that the Black man in South Africa was allegedly disenfranchised, that he had no vote. All they were upset about was the fact the White Africans were in charge, and doing a pretty good job of it. The anti’s wanted the African National Congress (ANC) to be given the whole caboodle, and their many friends in Western Governments, all the broadcasters along with the ANC-friendly newspapers; ensured that the only headlines about South Africa were the slanted ones, the lies, and the semi-truths: that is what has come, today, to be known as Fake News. I recall a news team was give access to the shaft levels of a gold mine, and allowed to film the thousands of black and white workers as they filed in and out of the shaft cages which sped up and down the six thousand feet from the surface to the transit points. Now the black supervisors who ran the mass transit system on that mine were forced to walk and work perilously close to open shafts, when cage doors were opened, and so they all wore safety belts attached to strength-tested chains fastened to steel girders. When that film was transmitted, that snip was shown, with a voice-over stating that the black workers were chained up, so they could not escape. The fact that those same black men travelled for days, and sometimes thousands of miles, to sign up for the work on a gold mine because it was so well paid because it was so dangerous was never allowed to be publicised!

But, the toll-bell rang, and the investment billions needed for South Africa to properly invest in its national infrastructure faded away under the anti-apartheid pressure, Mandela, a terrorist and a murderous plotter was released, and the big movement commenced to give the black man the vote. He already had a vote, but the Homelands idea wasn’t liked by the anti- movement; nothing but surrender was good enough for them. The Big day came, the ANC swept the board, the Nationalist government handed over power to the communists, the terrorists and the Black man was finally in charge. The only things which were not handed over were the five nuclear weapons which had been built with South African and Israeli expertise: handed over to the sensible guys in Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. I had myself long gone by then, leaving all my friends behind to their fates, as I had my family’s British passports shined up specially for the occasion.

I believe that the world will slowly come to realise that the African, the black man, is incapable of transforming his belief systems and political ‘animus’ to run their countries in the same manner as Western democracies. Just check out, as I have shown, the number of African countries which have been given the choice, the very freedom to choose how and in what manner they are governed, and then be a little selective, and find the ONE Nation which has adhered to the basic ideal and standards of Democracy: namely Botswana, a product of British idealism transformed into a Nation run by a Black Government which has steadfastly adhered to the Rule of Law in both its governance and Government. Only ONE! Does the reader not find that statistic ludicrous. Apart from South Africa, when run by the White man, which virtually ran itself since the 1920’s; the only Nation in the whole of Black Africa which has steadfastly adhered to Western standards.

So let us look at what the result of 22 years of South African Black rule has achieved. Firstly the terrible shame of the squatter camps which surrounded the big cities was challenged and tasked. The Squatter camps had to go!The ANC government came up with an African solution, the camps: they all stayed exactly as they were, but they were all renamed ‘Informal Settlements’! The Africanization of the cities continues to this day, as they change the names of the main streets to idolise the murderous butchers who were part of the so-called Liberation Struggle. The unemployment rate in South Africa peaked at 27.5%. Looking back at the years before ‘The Vote’, the unemployment rate was in the region of 6.5-7.0%. The people, white, black, coloured, indian; they got their vote: but the corruption, the bare-faced theft and the jobs for the black brethren began the day after Mandela left the presidency.

Personally, I had, and still have, very little time for the ”saviour of South Africa” along with the bloody ‘Rainbow Nation’ and all the other phrases which rattled out: but even I have to give him his due, he smoothed the way between White rule and the incoming Black Government, he resisted the urge for vengeance despite the urging by many of his ‘advisers’, he cooled the ANC’s efforts to grab everything which wasn’t exactly bolted down, and, in the end; he paved the way for a peaceful transition. But once his level hand left the tiller of State, the thieves and vagabonds and the corruptors had themselves a field day, from the Presidency downwards, the noise as the cash was being counted was deafening. The jobs at places such as Eskom, the State Electricity Group, where engineers, men whom I have worked alongside and admired for their knowledge and dedication; were literally pushed aside, and those desks were then occupied by illiterates, people of absolutely no experience, training or indeed actual education, but worthy of a high position because of the colour of their skin, and the names of their relatives!

There are many such stories, I could write a book, but the time is past. I would however retail two items of interest, one of which happened with the alleged need for new railway engines for South African Railways. During the seventeen/eighteen years I lived in South Africa, it was a privilege to live, travel and work in a Society where Engineering was understood. In amongst the many things produced in the power-house which was the Engineering world of South Africa, they built locomotives, diesel and diesel-electric and electric engines which hauled the people and merchandise of a Sub-Continent; efficiently, practically and competently. The railways of South and Southern Africa were criss-crossed by the ever-familiar russet-red paintwork of the Zuid Afrikaanse Spoorweἒ (South African Railway) locos as they reliably pulled the freight of seven nations towards their destinations.

Fast forward thirty years, and into the reign of the African National Congress, the chosen Party of the Black man’s vote. They gave an order for seventy railway locomotives to a Spanish firm, an order worth 3.45 Billion Rands (£181 million Pounds), and when the first locos came off the ship in Cape Town, they found that the engines were 30 centimeters too tall. If used on the long-distance lines where the freight runs heaviest, they will rip off the catenary cabling as they enter a tunnel, and the trains will, simply, stop!

COPE spokesman Dennis Bloem questioned why Prasa had “wilfully” ignored explicit warnings about the unsuitability of the Spanish-manufactured diesel locomotives. “Was it because of sheer arrogance? Or was it because of the bag that someone might have passed under the table?” Mr Bloem challenged. Perhaps Mr. Bloem mis-spoke? He should have stated ‘several bags’

‘Alles kom regt; mijnheer!’

Rapport journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh first broke the story in July that the agency ignored warnings from engineers that the locomotives were too high for local railways and could damage overhead cables.

At the time, CEO Lucky Montana and his chief engineer Daniel Mthimkhulu denied this. “We meet the safety standards,” Montana said. “We have bought one of the best locomotives in the world and we are not even apologetic about that.”

Since then, Montana has resigned and Mthimkhulu fired for having a fake degree.

In addition, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report, Derailed, in August, which found evidence of widespread maladministration and impropriety in the awarding of tenders worth R2.8bn.

Since then, the board has launched an independent investigation into the allegations, including the procurement of the Afro 4000 locomotives.

The RSR report reveals how Prasa sidestepped their inspections before buying the locomotives.

“RSR received a statement of intent from Prasa stating its plan to procure Euro 4000 locomotives on 13 March 2014, it has since become apparent that the locomotives had already been purchased by this date,” it said.

RSR said it conducted inspections and testing on 12 of the 13 locomotives at different locations within the railway network.

“The results of the inspection and assessment confirm that the Afro 4000 series of locomotives is designed and manufactured to a height of 4140mm above rail head,” it said.

“This height exceeds the vehicle structure gauge height of 3965mm as required in the Transnet Freight Rail track maintenance manual. The impact of this deviation is that there is a greater risk of interference between Overhead Traction Equipment and the locomotive.”

At the measured height of 4140mm, “the locomotives cannot always maintain the required minimum vertical gap of 150mm between the roof and the contact wire”, the report shows.

“This will lead to a higher risk of contact and flashover with the overhead traction equipment and operational delays,” it says. “There is evidence on some of the Afro 4000 locomotives inspected that such contact/flashover has occurred during testing.”

The other item of interest was during the planning for the South African World Cup. The football authorities arranged, with of course lots of borrowed money, to refurbish three stadiums, and build another five new ones, costing some $4 billion. But the Government in the Transvaal decided that, because all these happy supporters need to get to the new stadiums south of  Johannesburg, they needed a rapid transit system; so it was planned, ordered, built and opened; at a cost of $2.4 billion. The new trains for the GauTrain came from Bombardier in Derby, and they got the best. But the cream on top of that package was the fact that ten Government Ministers were on the board of GauTrain, and it is strongly estimated that they enriched themselves to the tune of $20 million apiece! Just one problem for the passengers who wish to use the efficient, fast and wonderful GauTrains: the price of the tickets is so high, the average black man cannot afford the fares, so they continue to use the overcrowded local trains, and the taxis which are never, ever serviced!

There is one book, one novel which describes both South Africa, and Black Africa; and its title says and speaks volumes. The book? Cry the Beloved Country!

 

2 thoughts on “Why Africa will never be as We are!

  1. Thank you for writing an elegy for white engineering in South Africa.
    My great grandfather built bridges for the Pretoria Lorenco Marques railway before the Boer War. His son designed safety devices for the mines until his death in his 90s.
    My uncle started life as a fitter and turner and retired as mine manager. He led many proto teams ie underground search and rescue after rock bursts in some of the deepest mines in the world.
    My cousin was part of the team which built the Huguenot tunnel under the Hottentots Holland Mountains shaving off what had been the deadliest section of road on the N1 linking Cape Town with the interior. When the drilling teams met they were accurate within centimeters.
    My uncle started as a mechanic in WW2 and retired chief engineer of SAA. Another uncle oversaw finances at Eskom when they were honest and South Africa had cheap abundant power. My father negotiated with Portugal in the building of Cahora Bassa Dam.
    Sound engineering, honest financing are the prerequisites of a sound society. I ache to watch it fall apart under neglect, incomprehension and the reign of locusts.

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