It seems once a week I have some incident that makes me realise how screwed up our state and government systems are. I am sure this happens to people in all the many countries of the world. But this is my country so I get to want to kick something (someone) South African every once in awhile in frustration.
Yesterday when I was on my way back to the office from a lunch break stroll (i.e. sans money, phone, anything to tempt me into spending more of my finances), I walked past a poor guy with one of his forearms covered in thick fresh blood. I just stopped at stared.
He looked at me. I look at him completely confused. What the hell are you doing just meandering about with a wound like that babes, or did it escape your attention.
Please help me madam.
Oh sure, I’ll just pull some first aid kit out of my here slip-on shoe?!?!?
I can’t. Just go to that shop there. They’ll have to help. Or no, wait, the clinic!!! There’s a clinic about a block from here.
But he’d been to the clinic. It is a private clinic, which means if you don’t have medical aid or cash up front, you can just breathe your last right there in the foyer and they’ll ask you to be quiet & move to a corner out of the way please. (I know this full well as it nearly happened to my cousin once).
You understand their point. They can’t do charity cases for every person who walks into their clinic in need of dire medical assistance but can’t pay. Gawd, that’s 80% of our country probably. They’d be broke within the week.
He needed R90 for them to patch him up.
I can’t tell you how bad the wound was. I am dumb and too sweet in many ways, but I have lasted this long by not too closely approaching completely strange men who are gushing blood from indeterminable wounds. It looked pretty horrific though, and he looked like he was in a lot of pain, there in Jo’burg’s heat wave midday sun.
And he was an immigrant. And no one likes a poor immigrant, gushing blood, in this country. And if he didn’t have R90, it was doubtful he had enough cash to catch public transport to Jo’burg Gen. And I couldn’t even see any of those oh-so-kind taxi drivers letting him anywhere near their reputable vehicles.
What could I do?
Worse yet, what could he do?
All he needed was R90.
But I hope Gauteng Provincial Minister Paul Mashatile enjoyed his R96 000 meals at Auberge Michel.