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June 2014

Don’t invade now please – we’re on strike

Since we all crawled out of the primordial ooze, learned to walk upright and started the “civilised society” ball rolling, we have, of necessity, taken certain things as “given”. It’s just part and parcel of the “way things are”. You have an accident, you go to the hospital and they fix you up. You see a gang of guys robbing a bank, you call the cops and they come and chase them – maybe even catch them. That sort of thing. Getting the drift? Following me now? Arguably, at the core of that basic premise is that we (as a country – any country) have an “army” to “protect us” from our “enemies” – whoever they may be. I mean, even General Idi Amin Dada, President for Life and supreme ruler of all Uganda, had an army – and even (despite being landlocked – there was always Lake Victoria) a navy(!) to protect his sovereign and sacred soil from aggressors both foreign and domestic – even the dastardly British Foreign Office (egad!). And so too do we, in the form of the SANDF. But, I fear the powerful fighting force that was once the scourge of Southern Africa and was guaranteed to send any errant Cuban or misguided Russian “advisor” scurrying lickety-split back to the bosom of global Marxism is, alas, no more. Because they’re on strike.

“What??” (I hear you splutter) “On strike?? How can an army be on STRIKE??” Well, ours is. At least a portion of it, anyway. For real – honest injun. And if you found that a trifle hard to swallow, try getting your neck around the fact that you (the average, bog-standard seffrican tax-payer) have – to date – coughed up nearly half a billion of your hard-earned tax Rands to keep more than 650 SANDF soldiers at home and sitting on their well-padded backsides doing absolutely nothing for the last four-and-a-half-years – at full pay – with full benefits. For those (6 ½ and counting) regular readers of The Curmudgeon’s meandering monthly outpourings who also read newspapers other than THG, it comes as no surprise that the reality is that, since August 2009, these 650 soldiers have been on strike in protest against “poor salaries”. And, since the case has yet to be resolved (what a surprise) by the Supreme Court, lawyers - both for and against - and other assorted paper-shufflers and snake-oil salesmen, these stalwart protectors of the vulnerable populace and ordinary citizenry of our fair land, continue to be paid to count the cobwebs on the ageing and creaking infrastructure of a once proud force that currently doesn’t have enough money to pay attention – let alone protect our borders.

Is it any wonder then that we have a huge problem with illegal aliens, porous borders, et al – to name but a few ills - if we are paying billions out of the annual budget to support an “army” (oops, and “navy” and “air force”) that has soldiers who refuse to be soldiers, sailors who can’t “sail” coz we can’t afford to run their ships and flyers who can’t “fly” coz we can’t afford to maintain and keep their shwanky (arms deal) Gripen fighter jets in the air? All I have to say is “Gawd ‘elp us” if Mad Bob - just  a wee bit over our northern border – decides to get a final Socialist/Marxist bee in his wrinkled, nonagenarian bonnet and give world (or at least the Southern African part of it) domination one more shaky whirl before he finally pops his (Gucci) clogs…

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