It is time to trim the fat. To reduce the amount we spend on salaries and wages. To reduce the amount we spend on purchases and expenses. That is very simply that the public sector wage bill needs to be halved. That the public sector expenditure bill needs to be halved and that the provision from the public purse for the operation of government and the public sector needs to be halved.
This may seem strange given that public servants, without exception, do not work in any way whatsoever and that public servants are unquestionably overpaid and underworked. However the fact that the public servants are complemented by service providers who overcharge and underdeliver, while paying bribes and kickbacks to secure contracts, should sound the alarm at this time to indicate that the fat must be trimmed. We cannot continue to tolerate the vast and yawning chasm that exists between those that do no work and collect a government salary (the public servants) and those who do no work and do not collect a government salary (the unemployed).
This surely presumes that the private sector is not dependent on the state for its income. Wait what am I saying? What utter lunacy on my part? I had almost forgotten about the need for the private sector to dance to the tune of the public sector to get by. So let me restate this, because there is tremendous wasteful expenditure in the private sector – particularly in public companies and in businesses which trade with the public sector, so that I am accurately attacking the problem. We cannot continue to tolerate the vast and yawning chasm that exists between those that do no work and collect a salary (the employed) and those who do no work and do not collect a salary (the unemployed). There, accurate and appropriate. The devastation at the public enterprises and parastatals is unfortunately matched by the devastation at the nationally significant enterprises and major private corporations. I think here of the gems that are Eskom and Transnet matched with the preciousnesses that are Sasol and Iscor. Clear evidence that the cadre mentality has wrought havoc in both the public and private sectors with complete impunity.
So to return to the matter of fat and the wastefulness that is endemic to the cadre deployment “do-no-work” mentality. We must as a matter of course remove the diseases that operate the employed, who do no work, from the ambit of work; and we must as a matter of urgency remove the arrogance that reassures the employed, who do no work, from the locus of work; so that we are not paying for nothing. When we pay and work doesn’t get done – we are paying for nothing. When we pay and work doesn’t get done properly – we are paying for nothing. When we pay and work doesn’t get done timeously – we are paying for nothing. There will be those who disagree with me, believing that they are entitled to the diabetically-fuelled and hypertensively-sustained do-no-work culture that is endemic to South Africa’s new and ostensibly emerging economy. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps the laziness is not sponsored by KFC (salt induced hypertension) and Coke (sugar induced diabetes) and perhaps the inefficiency is explained by some other phenomena. Let us investigate this.
If it takes two minutes for an ordinary person to perform a task, it is expected that in an hour of work that thirty performances of such a task will be completed. Is this the case? That sixty minutes divided by the ordinary time (in minutes) for the completion of one task is equal to the number of tasks completed in an hour? And then given that the basic conditions of employment states that there must be an hour of rest from work in every eight hour shift of work, it is expected that if it takes two minutes in ordinary time to complete a task that there will be thirty performances of such a task an hour for seven hours of the work shift yielding a total of two hundred and ten performances of such a task in an eight hour work shift. I place on record that it takes two minutes to process a payment, to process an application for an identity card, to process an application for a passport, to take and save a digital photograph, to process an application for a motor vehicle licence, to process an application for a driver’s licence and to take and print a digital photograph.
Now, who’s been to the Department of Home Affairs or the Department of Transport at some point in the last twenty years? Does each operator process two hundred and ten “customers” a day? Really, have you seen the queues? Have you seen the waiting times? Have you encountered the whole day saga that is public service? And that’s just two public services that ordinary people use. I actually have no idea about the Department of Social Development or the Department of Human Settlements, but then again I don’t think the people who receive social grants but still live in shacks have any idea about these departments either. So I am quite certain that we are overpaying and underworking the public servants. There might be an exception here or there, perhaps in a public clinic or public hospital, where patients actually get properly diagnosed and treated first time round – no I’m just joking – that never happens. I do not have personal experience of the wannabes who have ruined Eskom or the delinquents who have ruined Sasol given that I do not as a rule congratulate myself on every bowel movement and do not as a rule associate with those who do; so I cannot explain why the simplest of work-study efficiency tests have not reigned in disaster at those conglomerates.
I do however have information about South Africans who are being blackmailed and extorted; and whose recourse to survival is to tamper, meddle and interfere with the public and near-public sector institutions. So I can say with certainly that we are overpaying and underworking the public servants. I can also say with certainty that the private sector has been “cadrefied” or is that “cadrerised”? No it must be “comradeised” and “comradefied”! In truth it is all four in a sick combination of sugar-sugar, sugar-salt, salt-salt and salt-sugar to yield diabetes-diabetes, diabetes-hypertension, hypertension-hypertension and hypertension-diabetes as the operators of the “workers”. This is a result of allowing bankrupt “doctors” to play games with other people’s lives – something that I do not allow in anyway whatsoever.
So there it is – we are overpaying and not getting value – and this is the same story in the area of public procurement – we pay too much and get too little – but enrich a few along the way. Criminals have deals with each other regarding whose “thing” is the expenditure from specific departments, specific parastatals and specific public enterprises; resulting in whomsoever wins tenders having to pay for the privilege and then having to pay for the contract. This why people still live in shacks, why the schools, colleges, universities, clinics and hospitals are over-crowded and under-resourced, why the social grants are pitiful, why roads and infrastructure are not pristine, why public transport is a shambles, why criminals are not in prison, why prisons are too few and over-crowded, why electricity, water, telecommunications, radio and television are imploding and why so many other failing instances of the abysmal record of the government are the way they are. There are criminals dictating the course of public sector expenditure and the performance of public servants. Add to this the congressification of the private sector and we have criminals dictating the course of private sector expenditure and work performance of employees. Someone’s been watching too much Isidingo – Papa G is no Vladimir Putin.
Nonetheless, the genius behind the misery, the erstwhile laugher and grinder, Jacob, is not in any position to call off the game. You see the fat exists as a bribe to the seedy and the criminal from those who are seedy and criminal but pretend to be comrades and cadres. So as much as I have proved that we are paying too much and that we could halve the wage bill (or double employment without paying more) and halve the expenditure bill (or double the purchases without paying more); it is unlikely that, unless I go to war with the criminals, we will be able to trim the fat. I wonder, what is the real reason that the criminals are given credence? They don’t stand for South Africa, they don’t fight for South Africa, they don’t pay for South Africa, they don’t buy South Africans out of trouble, they don’t hold valuable hostages and they are for the most part unsophisticated and crude. Imagine taking a big-man from one of the townships into a negotiation with a big-man from one of the bratva – what a joke – who would the South Africans be holding as at a time prior to the meeting? Who would the South Africans have killed as at a time prior to the meeting? How would the South Africans countenance not getting anything from the meeting and yet having to get everything that they expect from the meeting? How would the South Africans reach and stretch to posture and threaten, before, during and after the meeting? No, I’m afraid that South Africa’s “criminals” are only taken seriously by the South African political class that rely on them for bribes and kickbacks.
Don’t get me wrong, South Africa has a culture of murder and robbery – but not a sophisticated culture or murder and robbery. In a sophisticated culture of murder and robbery, the criminal who commits the murder goes to prison for life after committing the murder – because those who commissioned the murder keep their hands clean – and the criminal who commits the robbery goes to prison for the maximum term after committing the robbery – because those who commissioned the robbery keep their hands clean. It’s an unsophisticated and crude criminality which murders and robs and tries to get away with the crime or to hide the crime. South Africa’s criminals are a joke on the African continent as well, there are no African countries (not even South Africa) that are being controlled and terrorised by South African criminals. Sad, with all the big-man posturing and playing make believe in the shadows that South Africa’s criminals only impress lazy public servants and stupid comrades who think that they’re Russian because they heard somewhere about someone named Lenin. So I don’t even know how I would go to war with South Africa’s criminals – what would I do?
Get Snowflake to sponsor a dombolo eating contest and simultaneously run a Fafi racket in the Chinese taxi ranks to fix the outcome so that one big-man gets another diabetic cockroach to call his own. No jokes, that’s how it would break down once the witchdoctors and diviners get involved. Or maybe get Hind’s to sponsor a “Southern Fried” chicken eating contest and simultaneously run a Fafi racket in the Chinese hair salons to fix the outcome so that one big-man gets another hypertensive toad to call his own. No jokes, that’s how it would break down once the witchdoctors and diviners get involved. So it remains the fat exists to bribe the seedy and criminal who, although unsophisticated, seem to impress the lazy and stupid overpaid and underworked public servants. But it is time to trim the fat – it is time for systemic and long term DEFLATION. Competition that drives prices down. Starting with the labour price. An unregulated and unfixed labour market will produce efficiencies that enable those who want to work to provide more work for less money – producing lower prices, a lower cost of living and less poverty.
That is the objective isn’t it? To eradicate poverty? Not to enrich a few, criminalise the many and fail to deliver on contracted expectations. If we want to achieve our objectives, we need to make the hard decisions now. Now is the time, to trim the fat.