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Telkom - the poster child for the fight against nationalisation

27 March 2012, 08:39
These days, if it's not religion or race on News24, it seems to be all about nationalisation. We all have an opinion one way or another, but to all those who think nationalisation is a good idea, I'd like to invite you to take a closer look at parastatals.

In particular, look at Telkom and Eskom.

We all know that Eskom delivers power as and when they feel like it, and have rather random and unpredictable outages - but we've pretty much come to expect that, and we're already gritting our teeth, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

My latest experience, however, has been with the other 'kom' and it's only caused my opinion on nationalisation and parastatals to become more negative.

You see, these genuises turned up on Tuesday last week to install a new line at a neighbor's house. In the process, they managed to cut off or cross several ADSL and phone lines. They then proceeded to blithely ignore the complaints about their mistake for the rest of the week.

The result was several irate customers.

The thing is though, this useless parastatal will probably bill everyone involved for the full month just as blithely as they ignore complaints, and drag their feet with everything.

They can do that though, because they have a virtual monopoly, and we're just poor schmos who have no other choices.

When it comes to investors, however, there are choices. A whole world full of them.

I have no doubt that if our mines and other resources were assimilated by the borg (oops, sorry, the ANC) they'd apply the same lackadaisical, make them wait type of scenario to their management of the company. Nothing would get done, or it would get done on 'company time.' Profits would plumment (they don't, after all, get to bill you for the time they waste of yours like Telkom does) and investors would leave.

We'd be left with a few holes in the ground, doing nothing of value, and no one would get anything out of the deal.

Instead of pushing this blatantly communist, FAILED notion of nationalisation, our government should be formulating an agenda based on capitalism with a social conscience. Imagine how many jobs could be created, for instance, if they allowed international telecoms companies and power suppliers in?

What a happy day that would be for all of us.

So instead of pushing for more parastatals, which is what a government mining company would be, we should be pushing for a more aggressive, competition driven market place in all sectors.

Because let's face it - if the 'koms' are anything to go by, parastatals and national companies in SA are simply a waste of everyone's time.

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