Thursday, December 20, 2007

Whose propaganda organ will the SABC become?

After reverting to its Apartheid-era role as a propaganda organ/lapdog under the Thabo Mbeki, it will be interesting to see whose side the SABC will take now: that of the government, or the ANC leadership.

Update (03 February 2008)
: It looks like the new ANC leadership wants the SABC to be independent, and move away from being a propaganda mouthpiece. We shall wait and see if they are as good as their word.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Democracy and the disinfection of tyranny

Whatever you may think of Jacob Zuma, what we are seeing in Polokwane demonstrates the power of democracy.

An arrogant denialist is being stripped of his power.

Whatever pain South Africa may feel in the next few weeks and months, at least we have been saved from Thabo Mbeki's increasingly erratic behavior1,2.

Jacob Zuma may turn out to be no better than Mbeki, or even worse, but the message that leaders can be held accountable in South Africa is powerful one, and one I hope the populace internalizes.

1 Nelson Mandela mercifully managed to hold on to his faculties for long enough to lead South Africa, but the fact is that as people age, we expect signs of senility to creep in. We should not be surprised that this happens with leaders as well.
2 Assuming he gives up easily. But I seriously doubt he will find much support if he tries any funny business.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Would a downturn in SA be an entirely bad thing?

South African businesses have had an easy time in the last few years, and it shows. Service is collapsing. In my experience, corporates are becoming increasingly incompetant and complacent.

Would a bit of a wakeup call could be in order?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Is service collapsing in South Africa?

From lazy HR executives to crappily run loyalty programs 1 and clueless call centres, a fair number of major corporates in South Africa seem to be having problems with service.

There are exceptions: Discovery and Outsurance, for example have, thus far, never given me problems, and their bright, well-informed call centre agents are always aware of what's happening.

With other companies, dealing with call centre agents is a matter of luck. A good call centre agent can quickly resolve an issue, and a bad one would have you pulling your hair out in frustration.

A lot of the time, I suppose, training issues and poor IT systems play a part, but at other times, errors can be attributed to pure laziness.

But, unfortunately, the rot in some corporates goes beyond call centres, and the same culture of laziness is infecting other areas of the organisation. South African service consumers are too docile, so I expect things to get worse before they start getting better.

1 Momentum Multiply has improved a little since my last post: they now have online travel bookings, but it's still a rather sloppy option. If you can get Vitality, rather go for that. Interestingly the two examples of good service (Outsurance and Discovery) were both, till recently also members of the FirstRand group -Discovery having beeen unbundled recently- but their customer service ethos and reliability put Momentum to shame.