Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: SAA

Everything is Perspective

From the point of view of Peter (Zimbabwean, celebrating his 42nd birthday), the Uber driver who drove me yesterday, who has never flown on an airplane, he is worried that he will feel the effects of the SAA strike.

From the point of view of Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, union spokesperson, frustrated by Bruce Whitfield’s laughter and inability to understand why the ‘sacrifice of 900 odd jobs was about people and not things, SAA always knew it was coming. Instead of changing their procurement procedures to save money, as early as suggested by the unions in 2014, they are now failing their workers.

From the point of view of white people speaking and leaving voice notes on talk radio, the majority of whom seem to have flown a bit, they take the strike personally, as if SAA was the only option, and they are personally put out and inconvenienced. There is no understanding that they are the most tiny percentage of a tiny percentage of people in the country and the world who have access to flying.

From the point of view of millions of South Africans, their transport concerns are more basic and local and I don’t think any of them have given a single thought to SAA, other than the money government has totally wasted on it. It is another black hole that things disappear into. There are more people in this country that have never been inside a privately owned car than there are people who have, or will ever fly.

These are just a few points of view.

SAA War declaration

I have just received an incompetent, uninformed and totally useless phone call from someone from SAA who is wanting to ‘investigate’ what happened yesterday. There should be absolutely no confusion in this regard; everyone knows exactly what went down. It’s their damn attitude that I am trying to rip them off that really gets to me. So, now it is full on war. You name it; whatever bad publicity I can muster up I am going to chuck their way; for as long as I have the energy. This is where it will start.

SAA nightmare

I am a South African so I know what to expect when it comes to SAA’s incompetence, greed, and total lack of accountability. I know what it’s like to try and get a refund, talk to a consultant, change a booking, report stolen baggage or just try to book a vegetarian meal. The thought of all these hundreds of thousands of tourists in South Africa having to tolerate this pathetic (lack of) service is just plain depressing.

I had a production with SAA yesterday that is too revolting to even go into, but it’s been on my mind so I thought I’d take a look at and see what complaints there were. Can of worms, I tell ya. The first telling thing is that SAA does not give or receive feedback on hellopeter. I guess that’s to be expected from a para-statal. They don’t give a shit. But here are the SAA stats on hellopeter; 29 compliments, 484 complaints. I kid you not.

So, I will just put my money where my mouth is and never ever give them my money again. Sies.

Back to Reality World Cup

I’m sitting at OR Tambo airport in Jozi, waiting for my flight back to Cape Town and I confess I am feeling down. I guess it had to happen. After a four hour run in with SAA you can end up feeling like that, but that’s not it.

Let me rewind a bit. My brother wanted me to see the show that he and his partners produced, Beautiful Creatures, which finished its run at The Teatro at Montecasino today, so he bought me a ticket to come up for the weekend. Then my cousin asked me if I wanted to go with him to the Ghana Uruguay game at Soccer City on Friday night. It was a little miracle. I had fantasized about going to a game with little hope, since I myself had made no effort to get a ticket besides for wishing for one to land in my lap. Bingo. I was the luckiest person in the world.

I was delighted to arrive in Jozi. The energy at both Cape Town airport when I departed and OR Tambo when I arrived was electric. I love the mad Uruguayan supporters on the flight who took a poll for the game and were devastated that 90% of the passengers wanted Ghana to win. I was ecstatic to see, feel and be part of this magnificent achievement. I loved the great decorations on the side of the highway. I loved the millions of vuvuzelas. I loved hearing so many different foreign languages.  I loved the transport, the security, the magnificent Soccer City. I loved the 90 000 fans that streamed in with face paint, tattoos and supporter colours. I cried with 90% of them when Ghana lost! I loved the Rea Via bus trip into the centre of town after the game in the middle of the night.

I loved the after-game hangover we aIl nursed at Melrose Arch the next morning where every person at every table was speaking about their heartache, and where every somebody in a Uruguayan short was ‘skeefed’.

I loved going to Montecasino yesterday to see Beautiful Creatures and be part of the total delight of every child (and parent). I loved the huge crowds that started arriving at the fan park to watch the Germany Argentina game. I loved the outdoor restaurant we sat at in Rosebank to watch it.

I have been unwavering in my pride and praise of one of South Arica’s greatest achievements, this, the 2010 world cup, in spite of hard-core Fifa. I have been touched by how friendly, interested, passionate and hospitable South Africans have been.

No doubt, the few incidents of reported crime have been disturbing, but the media’s take on it has been that the incidents have been random, opportunistic and isolated. Of course, there has been the great publicity of the special courts that were set up, and the swiftness of the justice they have meted out.

I have been sharing in the delight of the Gautrain which I caught today, the sight of people reclaiming the streets of South African cities on foot, and the good word and reputation that South Africa is basking in, even though Bafana Bafana didn’t make it through the first round. I have been lapping up every good article, review and conversation.

That is, until today, at OR Tambo airport, where, while having my tiff with SAA at the passenger services counter, I met a man who needed their help to leave the country and fast. He was an American tourist to South Africa, for the world cup, who, after last night’s game, had been woken up, beaten and robbed, whose sister these bastards had threatened to rape, all in the promised security of their up-market Sandton hotel accommodation. He was in total trauma and was trying to get SAA to help him, and his brother and sister go to family in Namibia.

I cannot begin to express my shame. I cannot begin to express my absolute helplessness. I cried. I cried for his physical hurt. I cried for his material loss. I cried for how he was going to need help and comfort from others, and not from us South Africans. I hurt for how long it would take him to recover, after only being here for four days. And I want somebody to pay, to make it better, to fix it.

I am in the air now, sitting amongst locals and tourists alike. And I am struggling to control the desire to shout out, “It’s all bullshit! We are fucked! This country is a mess! Go home! Quickly.” I know it’s not true, but meeting one victim in the flesh is a shocking reminder that he is one victim too many. And I know that most tourists will go home having had the best time of their lives, but it will have been a ‘there but for the grace of the gods’ time. And I’m sorry, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén