South Africa: a failure of power 14

South Africa, though saved some twenty years ago from the injustices of apartheid, is going steadily downhill.

We quote a letter from James E. Martins, teacher and lecturer:

What a fortnight it has been! Really, living in Johannesburg is difficult at the moment.We now have load-shedding daily – electricity cut off from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. Infuriating. Seeing crowds of people rushing to banks and pharmacies before the blackouts is a disturbing sight. Shades of the Soviet Union …

Trade is suffering severely. I hear from my cousin in Oz that “the South African crisis” has even made Australia’s very parochial news reports. And no wonder! A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption, and a complete failure to plan adequately should be newsworthy.

We are all  expected to be technologically savvy in the midst of such a crisis. At school, there is constant talk of greater use of smartboards, computer avatars, etc., etc. With the country’s electricity supplies at risk, it might be more sensible if we all polished our “chalk and talk” — and not a bad thing, either! (Nothing is superior to a teacher with personality and passion!) Still, it is maddening to live on “this isthmus of a middle state” between First World and disintegrating Third World. To give a rather trivial example, I do not know whether to complain to the local Post Office or simply to grind my teeth and wait: I have a host of orders from Amazon.UK  that have not arrived yet. Perhaps I should be patient. After all, I received a couple of Christmas cards a week ago. Africa!

By the way, it is estimated that, in Soweto, people owe R2 billion in unpaid rates for services – i.e. electricity. The ANC will never call such offenders to account for they – or their votes, rather – guarantee the ANC’s retention of power.

I attended an Advanced Programme English Conference this weekend, and had to endure everyone swooning over a YouTube snippet of a speech by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on the “danger of a single reading”. This is the new catchphrase of the trendy Left. She sneered inevitably at white stereotyping of blacks – while unashamedly doing the reverse! – and made cheap gibes at John Locke. I had to button my indignant lips, but, in my own address, I did make an impassioned plea for accurate reading, not simply fashionable ones. Sadly, I fear that many of my colleagues did not realize my words were a criticism of the rapturously received anti-white diatribe. Adichie mocked whites who believe that Africa is a bloodsoaked mess in which helpless people await redemption by white imperialists.

Africa is a bloodsoaked mess. And there may be people who “await redemption by white imperialists”. But if so, they wait in vain.

Posted under Africa, Australia, Commentary, corruption, education, Literature, Race, South Africa by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 15, 2015

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This post has 14 comments.

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  • Don L

    “A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption and a complete failure to plan [the economy] adequately should be newsworthy”

    This sentence contains the true failure. Monopoly and corruption are the products, symptoms, of planning [the economy]. That Mr Martins doesn’t see a sufficiency of planning [the economy] is the real failing; common across the world. Poliicians, intentionally or dangerously ignorant, see no problem with planning [the economy] only with the plan being implemented. They always have a newer plan.

    In the U.S. Republic, Repubs and Dems differ on plans. Never over the question of planning. And, the American public has been purposefully kept from exposure to any alternatives to social planning [the economy]. The lie has been taught for over 100 years: The economy is so large and complex, only experts can manage it. Ninety-five plus percent of Americans axccept this as true. They never ask whether the economy can be ort ought be planned. It can’t.

    Steel workers shutting down oil refining; dock workers closing Pacific coast ports; minimum wage laws, union workers bussed in to protest in Ferguson, MO or Madison, WI; Obamacare; EPA regs; monopolistic ‘public’ utilites; farm and other industry subsidies/cronyism; Labor Laws favoring unions; Out-of-date air traffic control systems & airports; and, an electric grid limping along are some of our monopolies and corruption symptoms of planning [the economy]. All, blamed, not on planning, but on freedom of choice and the failure to plan [the economy] adequaley.

    How is it FREE TRADE when it’s planned by and between governments?

    I invite any lefty to refute the following: 1.) in a free market society, anti-consumer monopolies are impossible; 2.) In a free market, perpetual unemplioyment cannot exist; In a free marketplace, there is no such thing as unnatural income inequality; and, 4.) In a free market system, Boom & Bust economic failures , like the Great Depression & the current Great Recession, are could not occur.

    • Of course I agree with all you say. I like everything about the letter except that. I will make sure your comment reaches Dr. Martins.

      • Don L

        Very good.

    • Frank

      You forgot one. In a free market economy there is no such thing as the “too big to fail” concept.

      • Don L

        Hi Frank. You’re absolutely right. I had to cut it off someplace. LOL.

        I almost included: In a free economy, it is only the profit & loss system that guarantees scarce resource sustainability and environmental protection.

        • Don L: In fairness to Dr. Martins, I don’t think he did mean “plan the economy”. On reflection, I think he meant that Eskom, the electricity company which has a monopoly, was unable to plan for an expanding market. I have not yet been able to ask him, but will when I can.

          • Don L

            Boy, I read it totally different.

            Johannesburg specific: “…living in Johannesburg is difficult at the moment. We now have load-shedding daily – electricity cut off from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. ” (Only mention of Eskom) AND “Seeing crowds of people rushing to banks and pharmacies before the blackouts is a disturbing sight. Shades of the Soviet Union … ”

            Country-oriented; NOT Johannesbuerg specific: “I hear from my cousin in Oz that “the South African crisis” has even made Australia’s very parochial news reports. And no wonder! A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption, and a complete failure to plan adequately should be newsworthy.”.

            Other than the first paragraph, the discussion is about the country and the country’s monoploy, xcorruption and lack of adequate planning.

            Of course, I await Dr Martin’s reply. Does anyone else have a perspective? It’s not like I’ve never been wrong before! LOL. More than happy to apologize. Yet, sans attributing any error to Dr Martins, the commentary is true.

            Ah. Is this Eskom the only electric utility? Are there blackouts in other cities? Even so, a free market utility wouldn’t be in this position of blacking out in the first place. Planning is still at the heart of the problem…me thinks.

            • Until I can get in touch with Dr. Martins, this might give you some answers:

              http://www.da.org.za/2015/02/sa-today-either-break-eskom-monopoly-breaks-us/

            • Don L

              Oh Man. OK, I see your point.

              As you know, monopolies exist only by government creation. And, by their very nature they are inherently corrupt. This born-of-Mandela communistic ANC government created sole source Eskom electric utility is a classic example. Wow. I did not know about this South African problem.

            • I’ve now spoken to Dr. Martins. He says he meant “forethought” (by the company, about electricity supplies) “Definitely not central planning!” he emphasized. “Never!”

            • Don L

              OK. I have amended the original commentary to reflect Dr Martins response.

              Although, I still perceive that thinking Eskom will change it’s planning toward solving the ‘shortage’ problem is to miss the probable intent of the gov’t/private relationship that refuses to collect past due fees…fees which if collected would go a long way toward funding consumer satisfying electric capacity expansion. Again, income redistribution is the plan. Outages/shortages and a failing economy, just like with our Obamacare, are acceptable trade offs. And, in no way or manner do I believe Dr Martins supports this socialist nonsense.

  • liz

    I saw an article somewhere recently about more murders of white Sout African farmers by blacks. From this letter, and other accounts, South Africa sounds like our future.
    Under our present bunch of communist revolutionaries, were heading in exactly the same direction – economic collapse and race wars.
    If Obama follows the pattern to the letter and makes himself president for life, we will get there all the sooner.

    • Don L

      As a kid, I remember seeing a movie, one of the first in color, on the big screen that gave me nightmares. It was about the Mau Mau killing white farmers: just looked it up — Safari (1956). I was 10. Full circle?

      • Happened on a huge scale in Zimbabwe. Is happening in South Africa (as liz rightly remembers). Good that you remind us of the movie.