|National Library of Finland|
Things are likely to be 'sensitive' in South Africa for many years to come as a result of our government's "B.E.E." (Black Economic Empowerment) programme. One example of what happens is that our librarian confided to me one frustrated Monday morning that of the 'new' staff - one of the women does not pull her weight, is on the same salary scale as my colleague and yet the latter has to do most of her work as well as her own. Why? Because no-one dares criticise anyone with a black skin - least of all the Chief Librarian. Any comment, no matter how innocuous, well-meaning or helpful is interpreted as 'racist'. So in most firms, 'new' appointments are given a company car, a nice office and a title - while someone else does their work. This usually works out cheaper for companies than having to pay the fine for not having their BEE ratios correct. Things came to a head last week though: the other 'new' staff member is a conscientious worker and had obviously been observing the scene for a while. Suddenly, she lost her temper and gave the lazy one a right verbal bollocking during which the remaining staff made themselves scarce. A week later, nothing is said, the two ladies concerned don't speak to each other but the lazy one seems to be making an effort.