Search Stafford's blog

Friday, December 14, 2007

What's happening to our country?

Look, I'm more pro South Africa than most people you meet! I came back to this country after 7 years in the USA...to give back and participate in the transformation. BUT...enough is enough...I'm exausted by the elementary failures friends and family of mine are continuously experiencing!

There are three specific areas where we are displaying utter ineptitude, no planning, no long term sustainable vision for resolution and worst of all; ZERO accountability;

1. Transportation & Roads - In the last 6 months there's more traffic in Gauteng than I've ever experienced before. The roads I drive are in bad condition and are getting worse (repairs just seem to take forever to happen). WE DO NOT HAVE A VERBOSE VIABLE SAFE MASS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM...and Gautrain isn't going to solve this problem! The expansion of the middle class has resulted in mass individual vehicle acquisitions...clearly not foreseen and forecasted...and no real sustainable plan in place to deal with it!

2. Energy - Load shedding...for goodness sake - ENOUGH ALREADY! All we hear are excuses about Eishkom underestimating the demands - sorry, that's not acceptable! Besides the Nuclear Pebble Bed Reactor (another potential armsgate scenario brewing) what other sustainable plans do we have to mitigate this crisis? If the answer is potentially purchasing a personal generator...then I'm very concerned! What have we done about solar? About Wind? NOTHING! Don't bother mentioning the anaemic efforts spawned by Eskom over the past few years since none of them have yielded ANY results! All this whilst many experts in the world agree that Sub Saharan Africa is prime real estate for renewal energy.

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF SITTING IN TRAFFIC FOR 2 HOURS 'CAUSE ALL THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS ARE SWITCHED OFF! Imagine if my wife was pregnant and in labour at that moment? What if my kid had an accident and I had to get emergency services? For many this isn't just a productivity or inconvenience loss problem...it's life or death!

FYI: On Monday and Tuesday this week I hosted several investors from Europe and the USA seeking opportunities in South Africa - needless to say...after being stuck in traffic with them for hours each day, eating club sandwiches in the dark in a 6 star hotel restaurant, and the lights going off during numerous presentations...they just laughed! The conclusion? At least $45 MILLION worth of foreign direct investment over an 18 month period...is GONE! They have instead decided to channel their funds into Ghana - just received notification via email this morning!

Oh yes...on Wednesday a friend of mine went to Sandton Square...after 90 mins in traffic from Morningside to the center...load shedding was in full steam again but she could enter the parking...the ticket dispensers were operational but all the lights were off...she decided to enter, parked nearby the stagnant escalators, and whilst locking her vehicle some "bag shedder" mugged her and got away!

Worst of all...NOBODY is held accountable...NOBODY!

3. Telco - the never ending international broadband affordability discussion. Our situation here in SA is ABSURD! EXAMPLE: I just hooked up my local office with a 4 meg link. Spoke to our internal ops folks last week and I am now the proud user of the most expensive international broadband connection IN THE WORLD within my org - there is no field office IN THE WORLD that has a 4 meg pipe this expensive...my monthly connectivity costs, in ratio, is equal to the cumulative amount of 24 other offices we have spread throughout Europe.

All this happens when government is given complete industry control and our political friends tell us that it's in our interest for them to own this for the development and transformation of the nation.

ENOUGH ALREADY!!

1 comment:

tomasvdb said...

all the more reason to set up office in Cape Town, we haven't had any load shedding (yet)in the CBD this year, and traffic isn't so bad.

But we do suffer the same bandwidth unfortunately...