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By Editorial staff


Towering truth from Paris for SA

Eiffel Tower's neglected maintenance highlights South Africa's infrastructure challenges.

If only South Africa had true, radical workers’ unions which were concerned not only with their members’ well-being, but with the fate of society in general…

That’s one thought which comes to mind hearing that the workers at the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris went out on a five-day strike protesting that maintenance at the landmark had been neglected.

If only Eskom’s workers had similarly spoken up at the height of state capture, when power station maintenance was put on the back-burner in favour of looting by the cadres.

The man who designed the Parisian tower, Gustave Eiffel, recommended at the time of its inauguration in 1889 that it should be painted every seven years to keep inevitable rust at bay.

ALSO READ: Eiffel Tower closed as staff go on strike

But the 300m iron structure – 330m high when the high-frequency antenna at the top is included – has not been given a full paint job since 2010.

Unions said during the strike there were “several corrosion points… visible”, which were “signs of a worrying deteriorating of the monument”.

Local associations have warned of “safety problems” if the rust is left unchecked.

The obvious lesson for us here in South Africa is: Look after what you have. Will we learn it, though?

ALSO READ: American tourists found sleeping it off atop Eiffel Tower

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