Working in Johannesburg: 1st or 3rd world?

I visited the premises of a state of the art call centre on Monday 25 January 2010 and lo and behold as I entered the MD’s office, her IT manager announced that ‘all systems are down’….  She had forwarded a company profile to me the previous week that stipulated that the building where her client’s call centres are housed is ‘wired for every eventuality’ – it has:

  • Telkom
  • Vodacom
  • MTN
  • Cell C
  • Neotel 
  • ‘huge’ bandwidth


What I had just witnessed was a comfort to me! I somehow felt so good! Bizzare I know. But allow me  to elaborate:  for months I have battled with Telkom to install a land-line and an ADSL connection only for them to keep telling me they cannot locate my address – I live in an apartment block the biggest and most modern in Bedfordview!!!!!!!!!!! During one of my rantings, a friend pointed out to me that there is something that will make me laugh: a website called www.f*  It is hilarious and definitely therapeutic… however, it doesn’t solve the problem. Telkom have not laid down cables to my apartment block so the prospect of a line in the next 6 months is dim.

Plan B: I have both Vodacom 3G and Neotel  and believe you me, there are days when neither will connect me to the internet. On a good day the speed of my internet would make a pregnant snail feel like she is in a Ferrari! On a good day my connection drops at least 10 to 12 times – often in the middle of me working on a live database… 

The obligatory dropped call when using a mobile phone has also driven me nuts…I have all three service providers – Vodacom, Cell C and MTN – do you think I can have a conversation without calling back at least 3 times??? It is actually embarrassing besides being frustrating – I work with international partners and I’m sure they think I have lost my marbles… 

Now the traffic…Does FIFA know what they have done to ordinary, hardworking South Africans?…I mean really, 2 hours to travel 18 kilometers??????? This is the norm over the past year as we are preparing for the World Cup …. The road works create chaos and are extremely dangerous too – of course the recent rains haven’t helped matters and when you add ESKOM and their inconsistent power supply to this mix, you need 3 hours to move 10 kilometers out of or into Sandton – the epicentre of doing business in Johannesburg!

Resilient? You bet!