What are the government’s resolutions?

2008-12-30 00:00

The year is almost over, which means our 2008 resolutions are being reviewed and we are already drafting our new lists for 2009. On behalf of the country, I would like to appeal to the government to contribute to making next year a much more pleasant one through the services it provides.

The idea of government hospitals is a brilliant one. We are grateful for them as there are people who cannot afford medical aid. But the service we get there is appalling. The nurses are rude and some of them are very vulgar. You are only attended to once they have finished their tea and gossip. It’s even worse for pregnant teenagers. They have to put up with a lot of unnecessary offensive comments and unpleasant treatment. Yet these are the very same people who need support and guidance. Would it be asking too much for nurses to do what they get paid to do and not to add to our frustrations? And we would appreciate a bit more cleanliness as well. Surely in a place like a hospital hygiene is a number-one priority? Private hospitals are kept clean at all times and you are greeted by friendly staff who are always ready to help you.

And then there’s the Department of Home Affairs. You get there early in the morning to find a very long queue and when you finally get your turn to speak to the uninterested, irritable man or woman behind the glass window you are told: “Sorry sisi, you are in the wrong queue”, or even worse, he or she decides to take his or her lunch hour and you have to wait until he or she gets back.

Every now and then you will be greeted by a male employee who is drunk and trying to peek underneath your shirt. This being one of the most important departments, it is vital that order and helpfulness is practised at all times. Laughing at people’s English or maiden names is totally unacceptable, which is another topic all on its own.

And don’t dare to make a phone call to these above-mentioned places or maybe one of the local municipalities. Your call might be answered after about six to seven rings, by a sleepy person who’s not very pleased to hear from you and is not very keen on helping you either. He or she might decide to transfer your call to the wrong department where you’ll be told to hold while someone tries to put you through to the right person. And then you are cut off. Or maybe, if you are lucky, the receptionist will take your details and promise “to get the person to call you back”, but surely you should know that those type of things don’t happen in such departments. You don’t honestly expect them to call you back? Their tea will get cold.

I hate having to go to the bank because I know it’s always full and no one likes standing in queues. However, I often have to go to a bank in Church Street and if there’s one thing I am certain of, it’s the service I’ll get there. The minute you walk through the door, you are attended to and told which queue to stand in. Even though it may be a long wait, you know you will be helped by a keen assistant.

We have seen some improvement in the country and the government is to thank for most of that. We appreciate the health and education and protection (to name a few) services that are being offered to us, but it is no good if we cannot use them because of the kind of treatment that we get from these departments. I think that the government should hire not only qualified people but also passionate people who enjoy what they do. If need be, training must be provided for the employees. The funny thing is these are the very same people who get good salaries with great benefits — medical aid included.

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