Are we experiencing a 'winter of discontent'?
Who really wants to read about the information technology industry when there are so many far more interesting and important things going on in the world around us in South Africa at the moment.
As predicted in a recent column, the country's "ruling" military junta has once again made its presence felt with "General Strike" flexing his muscles after civil servants downed tools and walked off the job last Friday.
Ably supported by subordinates such as "Major Disruption" and "Major Intimidation", who appear to have launched an all-out assault on public schools and medical facilities, the country is rapidly sliding into what Britons experienced and described several decades ago as their "winter of discontent".
Not too sure of the exact details and having not carried out any research, I seem to recall that the "winter of discontent" marked a significant milestone and turning point in British politics. Starting out with overwhelming support and heartfelt sympathy from the British public, striking coal miners and several other organised labour movements brought Britain to a virtual standstill during one of the coldest and wettest winters on record in what is already a miserable climate.
By the time the strikes ended, the man-in-the-street decided that he had endured enough of the disruption, inconvenience and loutish behaviour of strikers who seemed to be holding out for unrealistic demands. So, when the next general election came round, an aggressive conservative government was swept into power by a landslide majority. Unions suffered the backlash when public opinion supported what amounted to almost draconian curbs on union power and massive privatisation of public enterprises.
Both the labour movement and the Labour Party paid a hefty price for alienating the voting public in one of the oldest democracies in the world and have never been quite the same since.
While South Africa may still be too immature as a democracy for this lesson in history to be taken seriously, as we head toward the next general election its going to be interesting to see how the country's labour movement balances its bully-boy demands and loutish aggression against the best interests of the voting public that is heavily in favour of the ANC within the ruling alliance.
– David Bryant