Dirk Lotriet
2 minute read
19 Oct 2018
9:30 am

A salute to those public servants who give a damn

Dirk Lotriet

These are the people who stand between a captured South Africa and a South Africa which is well on its way to repair.

FILE PICTURE: A nurse checks on a baby at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, Vosloorus, Johannesburg, 19 September 2018, during the Human Rights Commission site inspection following reports of six newborns dying due to a klebsiella pneumonia outbreak at the hospital. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Monica is suffering pain I don’t wish on anyone.

A gas bottle exploded at her house and she suffered serious burns all over her body while trying to protect her children from the flames.

Monica, a large woman with an even larger personality who has been working at our house for several years, had been in and out of Baragwanath Hospital for weeks, but her wounds just got worse and worse.

Until the lovely Snapdragon intervened last week. She converted our van into a makeshift ambulance and fetched Monica from her informal home in Orlando.

She took Monica to Helen Joseph, where a surgeon made no secret of the fact that she got shocking treatment at Baragwanath.

Monica was taken to theatre for painful but vital surgery, and when Snapdragon visited her on Sunday, the improvement in her condition was unbelievable.

Of course I’m terribly proud of my dear, soft-hearted darling for her caring nature, but the drama also got me thinking.

We are all quick to crucify public servants for terrible service delivery, often with good reason. The civil service is bloated and a huge percentage of the people who take a chunk of our tax money home at the end of every month are corrupt, incompetent and downright lazy.

But we tend to forget those who bend over backwards to help to make this a better country. And more often than not, these shining stars perform their thankless tasks with salaries that don’t reflect their dedication while having to make do with inadequate equipment and support.

And it is this small band of heroes I want to salute today. Not only the surgeon and staff at Helen Joseph who made sure that Monica is well on her way to becoming the sunny, singing person we all love again, but also the hard-working men and women at Sars, Correctional Services, the department of transport and the health department.

We tip our hat at dedicated teachers, doctors, train drivers, municipal workers, judges and thousands of other hard-working people in gloomy government offices.

These are the people who stand between a captured South Africa and a South Africa which is well on its way to repair.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.