This was the closing line in an email sent to our WorkSafe subscribers. For the first time since WorkSafe started in January 2021, their marketing campaign to promote a safer work environment has yielded a response.
The newsletter was sent to 680 Safety practitioners as part of the company’s drive to expand its affordable safety services into the SA market.
The open rate on this particular email, sent on 12 July 2021, was nothing exciting, as very few safety people read their emails on the day of sending, but the response rate was quite remarkable. it jumped from the normal 1,3% to a whopping 56% as most recipients objected to the the last sentence: “Enjoy burning your country!”
While the reference to the latest spade of violence was the cause for this newsletter, its intent was a wake-up call. Most responders objecting to it, was white South Africans, who objected severely that they weren’t part of the burning of SA. The truth is, we are all guilty of the burning of SA. We all have the right to vote for our government and even those who did not vote cannot wash their hands.
SA has become a country where the law is questioned at every opportunity. If we don’t like it, we expect the Constitutional Court to decide if or not we should comply with the law. And when the law is upheld, and it’s not in our favour, most of us go sit in the corner and do nothing more.
SA has been burning for decades. It wasn’t physical fires for most of the time. It was a long period of burning standards of ethics and conduct down to the level where everyone can reach them. We were unable to uplift people to reach a higher level. Instead we lowered the standards to allow people to walk over it. No high-jumpers required. Simply walk over the bar.
Consequently we have to ask the question. Why should we care? And the honest answer is….
We don’t. We don’t care what happens to SA, as long as we don’t have to do something about it. We can object if we are offended, but we will never get involved to make it better. We already thought of someone to blame if it does not work out.
In the workplace it’s no different. The employer always gets the blame when someone is injured. Regardless of how safe a workplace is, we manage to find a way to get injured. Why?
Because historically statistics have been provided that told us 80% of workplace accidents is the employee’s own fault. So if I am going to get the blame, why not make the best of it?
It has become a religion. Everyone believes the story, so it must be true. And we all know that we are not allowed to question a religion.
One of the instigators of the violence works at a mining company in the Platinum belt. A few others are employed elsewhere, so the fallacy that violence is perpetrated by the unemployed and bored is totally false. The person throwing a rock or burning a building down is not worse than the one who “dared” them to do it.
In the workplace the same applies. The one breaking the rules and the one allowing the rules to be broken are both guilty. Be it the CEO or the person next to you. We are all burning South Africa!
Good bye South Africa
WorkSafe is moving its Africa Operations to Namibia and have decided not to continue its expansion in SA. It currently operates only in the Western Cape and will continue to expand in this province. Its satellite operations are KZN. The Centurion branch is likely to open in August as the licence has already been issued.
Elaine van Vuuren has resigned from the SA company and will be employed at WorkSafe Africa from 1 August 2021 to continue the expansion program.
“We took the spate of violence as a loud and clear indication of the lack of decisiveness and political will on the part of the ANC Led SA government to solve crime in the country. It sent a clear message. It tells us that law enforcement is very low on their agenda. It was an economical decision. Employers don’t need Safety at work; they either want it from a moral point of view or they ignore it all together knowing that nothing will happen. Under the current economic downturn, we have a business to run regardless. SA does not offer that.”