Friends & Friction: South Africa glows – only because it’s on fire

2015-03-04 07:00

Times are tough, food prices are skyrocketing, taxes are going up, and Gedleyihlekisa is laughing all the way to Nkandla.

Nx! When times are tough, the words of the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi sound good. He once wrote: “Let us turn to the past; that will be progress.”

That way we won’t have to deal with the fact that the methods we use to bring many people out of poverty have passed their sell-by date. Like a fire, South Africa has been consuming itself as it glows. We have lost our status as a morally upright nation.

We saw this when Nobel laureates abandoned South Africa because President Jacob Zuma’s government refused to give the Dalai Lama a visa to visit friend and international human rights campaigner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

As this country repeatedly tramples over the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, none of our politicians – both in power and in the opposition – seems to care.

They are too focused on the race for political spoils. When innocent people were viciously attacked during the xenophobic violence recently, no one evoked article 5: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Foreigners are often subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention without trial.

At the helm, navigating this country, is a mound of failure who is more concerned

with the welfare of his friends and family than the people who live in his country.

Danger is on the horizon and the wise have been banished to the lower decks. The fellows who openly boast about their ignorance have been elevated and, while they may be in love with the perks of prosperity, they lack the know-how and patience to make it happen in the first place.

It’s time to bring an end to all black economic empowerment (BEE) fiefdoms designed to enrich a few at the expense of the many.

The love and care for the people, the sick and the poor, must take precedence over the interests of the connected few. Government must rein in the pervasive tender system that has taken decision-making away from qualified doctors and nurses and given it to procurement bureaucrats, who have no understanding of how to treat the sick and the dying.

It’s time to make Hippocrates the centre of the health system again, rather than Adam Smith.

Many white people have gained untold riches in the name of BEE – and then moved their money offshore.

While the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has made waves over the past few months, its biggest flaw is that its core is hollow.

It is pursuing money. “Economic freedom” is nothing but a mirage that draws you into the Bermuda Triangle of serfdom. In these days of glorious marketing and conspicuous consumption, “economic freedom” is a euphemism for gobbling the perks of power without the work and tenacity to make it happen.

In the absence of the EFF telling us what it will do when it comes to power, (other than forcing President Zuma to pay back the money), we can only assume it will make it easy for the extravagant to live a lavish life. It will kick the potbelly of the moneylender and give the reckless borrower an amnesty for his foolishness.

In the EFF’s reign, we will be forced to admire the black man who drinks his Champagne out of a bottle as being truly free. The party has bought into the kid-glove tyranny of capitalism that shackles its slaves with illusory promises.

Perhaps Verdi was correct after all. Maybe we have to turn to the past, and that will be progress. Our youth must learn to appreciate the virtue of sacrifice and hard work that created the greats this nation is so proud of.

It’s time for the people to be angry, stop the laughing and build this nation.

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