The full damage is yet to be felt

2008-12-06 00:00

Just as government policies take time to have a profound and visible impact and effect changes to the challenges they are supposed to eradicate, damage done by the same policies also

takes time to show and have long-lasting effects.

A lot was said about how untimely former president Thabo Mbeki’s dismissal was, especially with just a few months before he finished his term. His friends and foes defended and attacked him, respectively, while they tried to defend their stance but the effects of his policies are yet to be fully felt.

Make no mistake, various groups within various communities already bear the brunt of his arrogance. In just one week, I began to appreciate how people continue to suffer because Mbeki failed to assist them.

The need for the government to tackle HIV/Aids and the challenges it continues to pose has never been greater and Mbeki’s stance on the issue shocked fellow Africans and foreigners alike as he continued to question the link between HIV and Aids while people continued to die like flies.

Instead of injecting tens of billions of rands into the welfare of the people of this country, he was key in procuring arms from foreign companies totalling well over R100 billion in procurement and maintenance.

His approach of treating Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe with kid gloves has been despicable to say the least.

His failure to deal with our northern neighbour decisively has not only made a mess of South Africa but also the whole of southern Africa.

Thanks to Mbeki, Mugabe is still in power and there has been no progress in the mediation talks, cholera is rife and the death figure has climbed to over 1 000 in Harare alone, hospitals are as good as closed and there’s no economy to speak of. It is the indigent and the poorest of the poor who bear the brunt of decisions made at political levels.

In desperation, Zimbabwean nationals have been forced to cross the border into South Africa, bringing cholera with them.

Clearly, we do not operate in a vacuum and had this situation been resolved by our Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders when it first occurred, the people of Zimbabwe would have regained their dignity and would be continuing with their lives. It is thanks to an absence of political will and to Sadc leaders, who are dictators just like Mugabe and have no interest in serving the African people, that we are where we are.

From the beginning, Mbeki had the wrong attitude towards governance: one of knowing what is good for the South African public without consulting them or even his party.

The damage this one individual has caused is yet to be felt in this country and beyond its borders.

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