Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drilling for the truth

Went to the dentist the other day, in vain, as it turned out.

Their water supply was cut off due to a breakdown somewhere or other in the system probably due to a burst pipe, the result of neglect due in turn to our critical skills shortage.

Of course, no one bothered to answer the municipality’s emergency number. Where do we think we are, Switzerland?

It was shortly after the dental technician commenced buzzing away at my molars that the water dried up. She remarked that perhaps now, in addition to the vast generator the multi-disciplinary practice had installed, it ought now to consider a large water storage tank. “Well why not?” I replied.

At least, unlike poor communities, we middle class types can try to counter state incompetence by methods other than trashing the streets and setting off random fires to protest against lack of service delivery. For example, in our street we employ, at considerable expense, armed guards 24/7 precisely because the state is failing to provide one of the citizen taxpayers’ basic rights: safety.

One could go on and on about the failures of the African National Congress and its incompetent, avaricious and corrupt band of cadres who line up for deployment so that they can get their noses in the public trough.

But let’s stick to the three basic needs: water, energy and food.

They are all linked so that if one of them is threatened, so are the others. There is no disagreement among the rational about the skills shortage in South Africa being a threat to all three of those links that sustain human activity.

Thus, in answer to a Democratic Alliance question in Parliament in July, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs dealt with something known as the Learning Academy, whose functions are, among others, to address “the critical and scarce technical skills shortage in the department and the sector”.

This Learning Academy does not offer formal qualifications. It appears to be some sort of on-the-job approach with participants receiving guidance from mentors. I guess we used to call them apprentices.

It appears that from 2007-09 a total of 248 “learners” were enrolled on the Learning Academy. It is not clear from the department’s response to the DA’s question whether the total of 247 were all different individuals or a mixture of those who passed through and those who had to repeat.

And it is not for nothing, costing R94 million over three years.

In the unlikely event that they all passed through, this means that we spent
R380 000 on each of these learners in the face of what the department describes as a “critical skills shortage”.

There can be no doubt that if the department had outsourced its Learning Academy to, say, the SA Institution for Civil Engineers, they would have achieved far better results for R380 000 a learner than the department has.

What experience and qualifications does the department have in training engineers?

Who are the people who do this alleged training?

What are they paid and how are they evaluated?

Delivery of basic services such as water, energy, food and housing is threatened throughout the country with numerous municipalities, once staffed by qualified artisans and engineers, now broken beyond redemption.

A recent ANC report leaked to The Independent said
all 25 municipalities in North West are close to ruin as a direct result of ANC incompetence and corruption. No doubt there are other, similar situations all over the country. Meanwhile, we now plan to ruin the private health sector thus driving away more skills. Aloota continua!

1 Opinion(s):

Doberman said...

Aloota continua! Geddit? Lol.