I am fortunate in that I have just returned from a short trip to Europe and then a wonderful social rally around Southern Africa (Put Foot Rally) and I met with many people at borders, campsites, pubs, restaurants, etc. What really saddened me was the poor attitude of the South Africans serving members of the public.
Sadly I was pickpocketed in Barcelona and had to get an emergency travel document to get home. In London I was greeted by the traditional South African Home Affairs queue. I did the dutiful thing and stood and waited but at every counter inside the office there was a badly placed typed piece of paper stating “No Racial Slurs Will Be Tolerated”. I was horrified that this was the message our embassy put out to the public. The service from South African members of staff was appalling and they were nothing short of rude. I then returned to South Africa and had to encounter the inefficiency of the Home Affairs Department in trying to get a new passport and was greeted at 08h00 by a gentleman who seated everyone in the queue and opened his address by saying to the crowd “What are your complaints?” People were simply horrified.
I am not sure if attack is the best form of defense because people know that they (or the system) are inefficient and they simply are unable to provide a decent service or they have no pride in their job and quite simply do not care about the people they are fortunate enough to be serving. We have ridiculously high levels of unemployment in our country and one of the things every single employed person should be grateful for is their job.
On my return to South Africa we drove through a border post that closed at 15h00 and at 14h50 the Mozambique staff greeted us warmly but the South African policeman aggressively approached us and told us we were late and he had already turned his computer off. The signs clearly state that the border is open until 15h00.
I then read this article in iol.co.za and wondered if South Africans are so angry how can we be a friendly nation that services not only foreigners but our very own people. I think we have to take responsibility and serve whoever we serve with pride and a smile – that small gesture could go a long way to improving the attitude of the country.
Click here to read more: Destructive, volcanic and mean-spirited: South Africa is an angry nation.