5 Things that frustrate South Africans in 2009

I haven’t ranted much on this blog in the past few months so I think it’s high time to get the frustrations that plague me (and most South Africans in my opinion) off my chest. 2009 has been an interesting year. Jacob Zuma was elected as next president of South Africa. Thusfar he has proven to be not too bad (besides pre-election fears from opposition parties). The Springboks have proved themselves to be the best rugby team in the world by winning a series against the British and Irish Lions and the Tri-Nations. The Vodacom Bulls beat the Chiefs in the Super 14 final and the Free State in the Currie Cup final proving themselves to be the best domestic rugby team in South Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. All positive (well not positive if you support a different South African domestic rugby team).

Besides this there have been some frustrations in South Africa. Today I will be covering the 5 different topics (in my opinion) which have frustrated (and is still frustrating) most South Africans this year.


High Telecommunications Costs: South Africa is a developing country. We might not be the fastest in this category but things are happening. Development could go a lot faster if we didn’t have to pay so much to phone each other or to use the internet. A lot of critics point the finger to Telkom and the mobile phone networks in South Africa. Others blame the South African government for not distancing itself from Telkom or for not intervening in the issue in a positive manner. In my opinion this industry is way too regulated for a developed country. Pressure by elements of South African society to lower interconnection fees between cell phone networks and Telkom was a step in the right direction but no compromise has been reached (due to all parties being too greedy in my opinion). Even though we have a SNO (Second Network Operator) no real cost cuts have been introduced for internet usage in South Africa. It’s ridiculous how much we pay for using the internet in this country. In order for South Africa to develop faster we need cheaper telecommunications costs and more competition. Cheaper call and usage costs will mean more customers and more jobs, plain and simple. What is so difficult to understand about that? If this is ever resolved this will definately reduce my stress level and put a permanent smile on my face. This issue really needs attention.

MN_Carte_20080623_1_Julius Malema

Julius Malema: For those of you who don’t know, he’s the current Youth League Leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. Julius Malema has been covered extensively in the South African media in 2009. He’s made various comments on things happening in South African society. South African Bank Nedbank withdrew their sponsorship of Athletics South Africa earlier in 2009 after the whole Caster Semenya debacle. When questioned about his opinion on Caster Semenya being a hermaphrodite he said “Hermaphrodite, what is that? Somebody tell me, what is hermaphrodite in Pedi? There’s no such thing, hermaphrodite, in Pedi. So don’t impose your hermaphrodite concepts on us.” There is word for that in Pedi: “Ntonankatshadi”. Malema urged the nation to close their accounts at the bank to pressure them into re-instating their sponsorship. Absolutely ridiculous. This is not the only comment he’s made but I’m sure that a huge percentage of the South African population is tired of his exploits. What fascinates me is that he has been named as a possible future leader of the ANC by South African president Jacob Zuma. On the flipside, South Africans have the right to freedom of speech so everyone is entitled to his / her opinion, even Julius Malema.


The Choke Mentality of the South African Cricket Team / Proteas: South Africa hosted the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in 2009 but we knocked out before they could reach the semi-final. This is not the first time that the Proteas have “choked” in big cricket tournaments. Most South African cricket fans will also recall the incident in the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England against Australia and the Duckworth Lewis disaster of the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa against Sri Lanka. Before the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy South Africa was ranked as the number 1 Cricket team in the world. It’s sad that we “choke” in big matches. In my opinion the Proteas should just relax, have fun (it’s a game afterall) and keep their composure. Hopefully they will learn their lesson before the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Let’s hope this happens because I’m sick of hearing that we “choke”.


Traffic: Most South Africans living in 2010 FIFA World Cup host cities, especially Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria will agree with me on this one. In Gauteng Province many highways, turn-offs and main roads are being upgraded to handle the influx of tourists in 2010 and the increased amount traffic in the province. This is causing major disruptions in the traffic flow. Luckily I’m still using public transport. On a bad day it can take a motorist between 2.5 – 3 hours to travel 50 km between Pretoria and Johannesburg. More than 400,000 cars travel between these 2 cities every day in South Africa. Though traffic volumes are much lower in other cities where construction is ongoing I’m told that traffic in cities like Durban and Cape Town is just as disrupted. When all the construction projects are finished traffic flow promises to be much better on South African metropolitan roads, so at least theres hope for the future. South African motorists should just be patient and suck it up for now. The completion of the Gautrain between Johannesburg and Pretoria should reduce traffic volumes when it’s finally completed.


Eskom Tarrif Hikes: This is probably one of the biggest issues in South Africa right now. Eskom, the South African electricity provider has already hiked up their rates by 34% in 2009. Now the utility is requesting 54% increases per year until 2012. Absolutely ridiculous. Luckily this has not been approved by the South African government. The whole of South Africa suffered from load shedding practices by Eskom in 2008. Some areas were without power for 2-4 hours a day. It was a very frustrating time for South Africans. Luckily South Africa has made it through this ordeal, but I’m questioning whether Eskom did this on purpose in order to justify their 34% tariff hike this year and future planned price hikes? 2009 has seen absolutely no load shedding (thank heavens). Were they planning this “False Flag Operation” before the load shedding commenced in 2008? If the proposed tariff increase goes through it will become practically impossible for businesses / households in South Africa (who are still recovering from the tail-end effect of the International Economic Crisis) to survive in the long run. The job creation process in South Africa will be dealt a heavy blow by this. Hopefully someone in government will have the common sense to deny them the proposed increase.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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  • Juan

    intresting topics i agree to the traffic and the communication parts and that part of that ANC guy is crap but i guess thats how politics goes and we just have to fall in because they got the power

  • MsBehavn

    Hmm interesting post

    My 5 irritations (in no particular order) are:

    1) Traffic: I get that we need to upgrade our roads for 2010 but ffs! Instead of just expecting us to “put up” with the gridlock employ pointsmen to help deal with the flow at peak hour, dammit!
    2) Caster Semenya and the ASA
    3) Julius Malema: The man needs a muzzle!
    4) Shouts of “racism” every time a CEO or head of industry is asked to resign due to poor performance!
    5) Labour strikes!!!

  • lowercase v

    good post, buddy.

  • Ruan Michau

    I was lucky enough to drive from PTA to JHB every day…HAH, lucky…NOT! This upgrade to the roads is way overdue according to one of my friends working for one of the companies doing the upgrade. The slow speed they are working at he says is due to incompetent employees and skills shortages. I don’t know about that; I feel they are some sort of sadistic fiends that love to see us suffer in the traffic. LOL. See, they have made me go nuts.

  • yeah and those strikes, arrrrg. Just watch, there will be massive strikes leading up to the 2010 Soccer world cup because a lot of people will have self-serving agendas that will harm this country.

    As for Eskom Tarrif Hikes, whoo – way too high. Maybe if there was a gradual curve over the past years it would have been better but a massive jump? Are they nuts? It will kill a lot of people.

    Yeah and I want to tear my hair out at ever mention of racism!! People we are past that.

  • Coleen

    I have some more …. the cost of Medical Aids and Fees, as well as high cost of Education
    We have had to cancel our Med Aid, and I heard on the radio yesterday that only 14% of South Africans can afford a Med Aid !!!
    It’s disgusting !!!

  • The Bergakker

    I agree with MsBehaven and Philip. THE LABOUR STRIKES ARE VERY FRUSTRATING!!!

    I remember a municipal strike (one of them) a while ago. Picture a whole neighbourhood of garbage, scavenged through by homeless and poor people, standing and rotting outside in the streets for two weeks. I had to hold my breath to leave the house.

    I remember having to wait two weeks to pick up a parcel by the post office. It came out to be a speeding fine – which was already due. As most of you know, we now get discount speeding fines but only if they are paid within a certain time, so it almost cost me R650 extra.

    Also, I want to congratulate the writer for including the pedi word for Hermaphrodite, “Ntonankatshadi”. I think next to freedom of speech must be common sense. In the words of someone wise “You can think what you want, but you CAN’T say what you want”. Julius, you must pray for a guardian angel to guard your lips, because you don’t think before you speak. And a note, not pointing any fingers, for the ANC, A CHAIN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK.

  • Running Wolf

    Thank you all for your comments. It seems that I should do a follow up post on this topic and maybe one about the other side of the coin. Perhaps I should mention 5 things that make South Africans happy in 2009.

  • fluKe

    I agree with all the stated issues.

    I would just like to add BEE and the new “Anti-racism” that is in the country whereby most white South Africans are subjected to heavy discrimination regardless if they were part of Apartheid or not.

    I do like how the new ANC government attempts to be making some positive changes, particularly in speeding up attempts to get ICASA in line, give policemen more rights than criminals, so on.

    I just hope something is done about Mr Malema, I can see no good coming from him in the future

  • I have no TV aerial, DSTV decoder, I dont subscribe to the newspapers or read them, I dont read IOL and I normally dont listen to people when they discuss politics.
    I am the proverbial ostrich with regards to current affairs of the world..
    BUT even after saying all of that I have to say that even though I don’t follow news or current events.. I agree with frustration 1,2,4 and 5.


    Because they effect me and piss me off. So what do we do about it? What CAN we do about it??.. nothing really except haven another beer and hope for the best.

  • Ah this is true…especially the Proteas bit. Hit the nail on the head on that one. What about Bafana Bafana, who don’t seem to understand that they need to leave their sassy attitudes at home and it’s about the team, not who is coaching it. It’s like putting together a pre-school choir practically impossible…I have tried!

  • Running Wolf

    Thank you all for the next batch of comments.

    Briget: I don’t even own a television. All my news is from reading whats going in the world on the web. Next time you have a beer, have one for me too.

    Fluke: Some areas are win win, others are loose loose.

    Supercopygurl: I intend to do a follow up post on this one and I think I should include Bafana Bafana in the next one and the other topics mentioned by the others who have commented on this post.

  • Oliver

    Excellent post, and great how you can show the plus side of these frustrations.. except the Eskom saga. Though I am sure there must be something positive that’ll come out of that.

    • Running Wolf

      Oliver: Maybe we should just start to use our own Solar Generators and give Eskom the finger 😛

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