ANC has hijacked country

2014-03-19 00:00

LOCAL businessperson Richard Kelland believes the country is losing its way with a government seemingly not interested in serving the people but a few individuals of its own choosing.

“It has been very disappointing to see the ANC, a noble party, losing not only its way, but also its moral and ethical standing,” he said.

“The honeymoon period under Nelson Mandela [following the first democratic elections] was fantastic. It started wearing thin during the Mbeki era and since then it’s been downhill on all fronts.”

Kelland (59), a married father of six and grandfather of two, said that while the ANC has delivered a lot during its 20 years of government, the party could have done so much more.

“If we were to take all the money that the party has had access to since 1994 and quantify it against delivery, we would all be shocked.”

He said many members of the governing elite lived high while the party presided over bankrupt municipalities and failing infrastructure, not to mention the parastatals that have turned into a disaster during the party’s watch.

Kelland said there is a growing number of citizens who believe the government is not living up to expectations. “But unfortunately, not enough … out of loyalty to the ANC, or of historical ties and beliefs, they will vote for it to remain in power, while others will simply walk away from the voting altogether rather than give their vote to any other party.”

The government does not have the right to misappropriate public funds, Kelland said, or to establish its own salaries and perks, travel first-class and stay in five-star hotels and purchase the most expensive cars on the market.

He said the current situation, where government systems have been hijacked by a political party and party loyalists deployed to institutions, is not for the benefit of society but for the party.

Everyone bears the brunt of government shortcomings, Kelland said, and he had direct experience of it in his working life. “As a businessperson responsible for developing the Victoria Country Club estate, I have encountered incompetence, that, plus the bureaucracy I’ve had to deal with in the government, has not been a pleasant experience.”

He said that instead of politicians continuing with their divisive action “they need to emphasise the issue that South Africa, without all its citizens getting together and working hard, is never going to move forward”.

“What should be happening is that the president should be broadcasting every morning telling South Africans to get up and try again and face the day head on.”

• The ANC and NFP did not respond in time for our deadline.

IFP RESPONSE

The IFP agrees with Richard Kelland that the failure and shortcomings of government is the failure of all of South Africa. And we agree that when we criticise government for not living up to our expectations, we should do so to be constructive.

As we celebrate 20 years of democracy, we recognise the enormous strides made by ordinary South Africans to overcome our past and create a new country in which freedom and equality prevail. We have good reason to be proud of our people.

But as a businessperson, he rightly states that he faces many challenges. The fact is that increasingly, corruption, wasteful expenditure and government red-tape is hindering business development, SMMEs and investment in our country.

Just like Richard, we also believe these challenges can be overcome and we can build a great nation if we stand together.

To achieve greatness, we need to rebuild pride in our work. We need to build a sense of dignity in abiding by the discipline necessary to improve our conditions.

We need to terminate the culture of dependency. We need to create a culture of real growth.

We need to exact from each civil servant the full measure of dedication that one would expect from a soldier in a war for progress and development.

MINORITY FRONT RESPONSE

Red tape in all sectors needs to be reviewed to make doing business with government a pleasurable experience.

The MF believes that all civil servants must uphold the Batho Pele Principles, and that certain posts should have a mandatory public relations or induction course before staff interact with the public.

SA needs to move up in rankings with respect to the number of days it takes to do business with government. This needs scrapping affirmative action and employing people on merit. The president can only lead from the front if he is in tune with public opinion. Leading from the front still requires a bottom-up approach for feedback and then only vertical and horizontal accountability becomes enforced.

We have always propagated co-operation and peaceful co-existence for nation-building by giving constructive, well-researched advice, and from people’s experience, to change laws, policies and programmes through debates, motions and petitions in Parliament.

DA RESPONSE

After 1994, all South Africans had hoped that things would get significantly better. Under presidents Mandela and Mbeki, South Africa started to make progress. Businesses like Mr Kelland’s were growing and we were slowly growing our economy to create more opportunity.

Unfortunately, under President Zuma progress has stalled. Corruption has increased and government has become obsessed with enriching its own connected network. That has left little resources available for everyone else to benefit.

We need to bring all South Africans together to cut corruption, create more jobs and bring positive change to reignite Nelson Mandela’s dream for South Africa. We need to make that freedom, and the promise of its prosperity, a reality for all.

Small businesses must be given support to grow so that they can hire more people. The DA would ban government officials from doing business with the state to stop corruption.

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