Archive for May, 2015

What are we letting ourselves be led into by government and traditional capitalist industries? Thoughts on breaking outdated “traditions” and encouraging communities to bring about change May 2015

May 18, 2015

Why should someone in their late sixties care about what is happening in South Africa with an overwhelming passion?  A passion that drives me into writing down my thoughts and talking to various people and communities until they are:

1. Bemused

2. Confused

3. Bored

4. Inspired

One or all of the above and, optimistically, I fly when the choice is Inspired! The answer is very simple.  Communities matter and so do the links in them.  Worldwide, government has become separated from people and the communities that they live in, to the extent that those communities have themselves been destroyed.  This was the stated intention of the industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century.  This faltered in the 1840s with the start of various revolutionary movements in Europe and the ending of legal slavery in the northern hemisphere.

Please note that slavery has not been eliminated anywhere in the world. In fact, it is currently as bad if not worse than it used to be.

Further developments occurred with the Russian October Revolution and Mao’s Long March in China from October 1934 to 1935.  The latter  finally resulted in the takeover of China by Mao’s Communist Party.  In the meantime, worker actions , through the growing labour movements, were changing conditions in the northern hemisphere.  The latter has hardly affected the southern hemisphere. Instead, what has happened, since the 1939-45 “World” War, has been the strong rise of international companies whose political influence on political parties, through the use of funding and patrimony, has resulted in these entities being placed in law with similar powers to real people.  This has happened without them assuming the responsibilities that people have to embrace. This omission is key to what is happening throughout the world.  The international corporates “own” the politicians and are in a position to dictate the outcomes they require in order to prosper.  this has produced the unease and rebellion that we have been seeing especially in the northern hemisphere, where the power of the 1% has been highlighted by the deprived 99%.  Only Iceland had the nerve to make the truly creative decisions which have left that country’s people free of shouldering the debts of the banks and others, whose exploitation could have ruined them.

Nowhere is so exploited by these corporates as the southern hemisphere countries and especially Africa.  The united greed, and the pacts signed between the greedy and the communities, rendered communities indigent, whilst resources are plundered.  The communities are decried as lazy and backward.  Their lifestyles are rubbished.  Yet, prior to this invasion, they were self-sustaining and healthy. Does something sound wrong here? Yes – you have been aware of this happening in south Africa for the past 135 years and, most notably, in the last 21 years.

Since South Africans canned apartheid, we have been able to see the truth of how mining and other companies exploit us for their gain.  Entire communities have been and are being destroyed so that minerals can be extracted. Once extracted, they are removed and sold to profit the mining companies with little or no return to either our government or the affected communities. Entire eco-systems are destroyed. Perhaps I ought to define “eco-systems” because many people think concern about them is “bunny/tree hugging”.  This merely demonstrates the anti-climate change propagandists’ lies, spread to justify their destruction of the planet so that they can extract every last resource from the earth with impunity.  Harsh words?  Yes they are and for good reasons.

What is an Eco-System?

Very simply, an eco-system composes everything in it.  So a village is an eco-system as is a forest or a river.  It includes everything that depends on it or exists within it.  Thus, human beings cannot exist without the systems that sustain them. Many of us live in large towns or cities and rely on food bringing brought into to the local shops so that we can eat and drink.  Therefore, we are reliant on the farming eco-systems in the countryside, which is often disparagingly described as the “hinterland”.  Our country cousins are often disregarded as not as intelligent as we are. Are they really?  Can we do without their nurturing efforts in producing the food we rely on? When we stop and consider this, then we start to realise that we are vulnerable.  Urban farming is the new fad as a result.  City folks are going back to nature to ensure their sustainability. Whilst we let government and corporates deprive our food producers of their land and leave them destitute, so that the resources can be extracted and removed without compensation.

A Picture of the future

John Donne stated in the 17th century that “No man is an island”.  Nothing has changed since then.  Regrettably, there are those who believe that it has and they will be unaffected by the consequences of their greed. So, where to start? It is simple really.  what is the most important thing in our lives without which we cannot survive?

WATER?

What is happening to South Africa’s water? (Just to bring things back home). Already 98% of our available water is allocated (or was two years ago).  We have no updated facts on this and many more Water Use Licence (WULs) have been granted to mining projects in particular.  Our conurbations are growing by around 2.4% per annum and water consumption by 1.4%.  (Figures drawn from Councillor Parks Tau’s State of the City 2015).  the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation maintains that up to 40% of all potable water being delivered to users is stolen or lost. Why is water lost?  Very simply because our infrastructure is failing due to age.

The maintenance and expansion of the infrastructure could and should be the source of many jobs.  Yet it is ignored and neglected.  The same goes for the waste water infrastructure. Our rivers, streams and catchments are becoming more and more polluted.  Sewage is only one input.  Acid Mine Drainage water, which is not only an historical burden, but a constant one from the new mines, also contributes.  Waste from the streets and general dumping also increase pollution.  Fracking will increase the burden.

We are running out of usable water FAST. That is not the only tragedy.  Poor water quality results in sick people and animals.  Yet neither the Department of Health or of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests appear to be in the least concerned. We are short of “jobs” and yet all of the above are crying out for people to rectify the problems.  The same is true for our roads.

Who has failed us?

I will now postulate that the alliance between governments and internationals corporates, which run s on self-enrichment and self-interest, is the biggest threat that we face.  They haven’t failed us.  We have failed ourselves by sleeping whilst they line their pockets and declare us lazy and undeserving.

What can we do – here and now?

Wake up!  We can rebuild our shattered communities and start a revolution of personal job creation that grows cooperation and repairs the neglect.

Many others are writing about the impacts on our water resources and how South Africa will become water deprived.  Can we take control and change this as communities?

I believe that we can and we must.