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Here’s Your R20
The minimum wage is now official, after vice president Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Parliament on Wednesday that all partners except Cosatu had signed the pact the previous night.
SA workers should therefore expect minimum of R20 per hour, or R3 500– R4 900 per month, depending on hours worked. The rub is that some business people have accused the ANC of presiding over the decimation of 4 million jobs over the last 23 years, while simultaneously (and recklessly) ballooning the public sector wage bill to R514 billion. Think of it this way - one in every eight rands of the R4.trillion budget, went to paying wages and salaries last year. This, in a country with the sixth-highest unemployment rate in the world!
First it was Brian Molefe. Then came Qedani Mahlangu. What is happening with the elite in big jobs? After being fingered in the State Capture Report for being close (way too close!) to the controversial Gupta family, Eskom CEO Molefe shed real tears on TV, then promptly quit his job effective 1 January 2017. In the past week, Mahlangu, MEC for Health in Gauteng has also fallen on her sword, after a damning forensic report laid the blame for the death of 94 mentally ill patients at her door. The patients were initially in the long-term care of Life Healthcare Esidimeni, but were distributed to various NGOs after the MEC terminated Esidimeni’s contract. Then the dying started. Incredibly, Molefe and Mahlangu are the rarest species of South African public officials who fall on their swords. The rest? And Thabo Mbeki does not count either, because his majestic resignation speech as State President was preceded by a humiliating recall by his Luthuli House bosses.
On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to have ruled for 65 years. The queen, who ascended the throne on 6 February 1952 did not celebrate what the Brits call the Sapphire Jubilee (you know, like Silver, Gold, Diamond jubilees).
Uber The Giant
If you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably not heard of Uber, the App that allows you to get a “taxi” anytime, anywhere via your smart phone. Not so fas, say the real taximen in Jo’burg. The metered taxi cadre swarmed the Rosebank Gautrain station with knobkerries (made famous during the pre-1994 election violence), and demanded that all and sundry join them in an #UberMustFall campaign in Pretoria on Wednesday. They are perhaps unaware that Uber, a $60 billion (R780 billion!) car hire App, is part of the disruptive technology that has caused so many tears. Just ask the journalists. And musicians. And photographers. And film-makers.
Donald Trump is not likened to Disruptive Technology for nothing. The US president has been in power for less than a month, but he has upset everything and everyone. His most controversial action was a 25 January Executive Order temporarily banning travel to the US of all citizens and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Almost everyone else called it religious bigotry that unfairly targeted Muslims. Trump and friends argued otherwise, saying the measures would strengthen the fight against terrorism.
An Ailing Chief
In West Africa, it looks like Muhammad Buhari might become the second Nigerian head of state to die on a foreign sickbed. President Buhari flew to London a few weeks ago for unexplained treatment. This week, his office announced that he would be staying longer in London to consult with his medical specialists. Because Buhari also sought treatment in London last June, his countrymen are worried that the 74-year-old could be following the blueprint set by Umaru Yar'Adua, the Nigerian president who died in 2010 after spending several months being treated in Saudi Arabia.
The Lions Feed
The Indomitable Lions, Cameroon’s national soccer team, beat Egypt 2-1 in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon last Sunday. The win was unusual because seven of the side’s most experienced footballers, who earn Euros and Pound Sterling in Europe, refused to participate. No matter. The youngsters, some as young as 17, took the football war to all comers and on Sunday, secured Cameroon’s fifth AfCon trophy; and a first since 2002.
According to a recent post on her website, Kim Kardashian (no introductions necessary) knew that the rap impresario Kanye West was “the one” when she visited his house for a sleepover, and he turned the heat on for her. Apparently, Kim hates air-conditioning, and West’s fireplace gesture was the equivalent of Jesus dying for his sinners more than 2000 years ago. Ahem.
EFF vs JZ
By the time you read this, the Red Berets of the Economic Freedom Fighters will have prevailed in their incessant attempts to disrupt the State of the Union (SONA) address. Or not. Because President Jacob Zuma had earlier in the week, authorised the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), to assist police in keeping the peace in the Mother City. Opposition politicians accused JZ of abusing the terms of his presidency by militarising parliamentary debate protocol. Of course, there are some who think this particular ship sailed a while ago.
And back in the land currently known as the US, Donald Trump has upended any and all conventional wisdom about what a president can and can’t do. Can: complain about a departmental store dropping his daughter’s beauty products. Can’t: yet build his Immigration Wall. Can: call out a Federal Judge for failing to grasp his immigration Executive Order, “that a bad high school student would understand”. Can’t: yet get his wife to move from the family's palatial New York digs to the White House. To paraphrase the life of King Midas, he of Greek mythology, be careful what you wish for.