When poverty stared at me through my car's windshield

2016-11-22 18:25

I was discussing yesterday, in another forum about the proposed minimum wage of R3500-00 per month and I accept that its not very popular and will encounter  many adverse comments. I acknowledge that  such diverse albeit  adverse comments  are good for  our democracy. In this way we get to hear and distill the various points of  view and together we chart the way forward.

Permit  me  to share one real  personal encounter of mine that compelled me to restate my support for a minimum wage.

For the benefit of those who don't know about my country, I  am from the province of Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa and a citizen of the city of Durban situate along the east coast of South Africa. I often travel along  the former  First Avenue and yesterday at the stop street at the intersection  of that road  and the former Argyle Road, a bedraggled street vendor of clothes hangers sidled up next to my open car window and pleaded with me to buy one set for R25 so that he could buy something to eat.

He politely  declined  my gesture of giving  him R5 which I had in a container in my car for emergencies and such contingencies.

Its so wrong, if not ironic, that despite the reality of poverty and crime starving, scourging and deriding honest and innocent citizens, the City of Durban is still persisting with its intent to host the 2020 Commonwealth Games whilst it cannot, despite the false dawn of the 2010 World Cup, provide its citizens with sustainable jobs and opportunities.

I saw this person was not one for handouts but someone who wanted to feed himself and perhaps his family  through his labour. There was this look in his eyes and etched over his craggy face that informed me of his genuineness and I eventually  bought hangers that I didn't  need and  as I began to pull away from his lips  I heard him praise  God in the name of Jesus.

This coming  in the wake of release by our statistician general that we have over 29% ( more like 40%) unemployment in SA and that the price of basic  food is set to soar in December.

Thank you for reading this.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay


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