The recent release of the Nkandla report by Thuli Madonsela , and the subsequent response from the ANC got me thinking that there is little hope for change in South Africa. The ANC’s self enrichment philosophy is now firmly entrenched within our society, as clearly illustrated by the recent legal action taken against the country’s top construction companies for anti-competitive practices and tender fraud. Big business and by extension wealthy businessmen generally contribute very little to the political landscape. When was the last time you heard one of the CEO’s from Checkers, Pick n Pay, Anglo, etc. coming out to criticize the government?
I was brought up in middle to low income household. My Father was a Mechanic and my Mother a Secretary, between the both of them they managed a very modest income. That being said they were very good with money and whenever an unplanned purchase needed to be made they would decide whether to go ahead or not by using one simple criteria, do we want it or do we need it. If it was just a case of “want” it was deemed unnecessary and that was the end of the discussion. Vice versa when it was something that was decided to be a “need” the purchase would be made. Being young and naïve, I resented this financial management technique as I always felt like what I deemed a necessity, to them wasn’t necessary at all. I mean when all your friend s are riding Mountain bicycles to school, surely it is imperative that you do the same?
Due to the gross injustice of having to go without shiny new things, I swore to myself that when I grew up I was going to be wealthy. All I had to do was find out what the secret recipe is and then follow it, simple. So I set to work to find the recipe, I knew the answer would be found in the municipal library but on entry I was informed that I hadn’t returned a significant number of books and was unceremoniously bounced. So I decided my next best source of information was my old man since he knew everything about everything. At the first opportunity I posed the most important question of all, “how did all of those rich people get rich?” He said they got rich because they work hard, and the harder you work the more society will notice your worth and you will climb the ladder. It made sense and so from then on I tried my best to live according to this mantra.
I am now in my mid 30’s and a long way from being wealthy, I bust my butt 6 days a week like so many others, I keep my head down and try my best to avoid office politics. I have experienced the same strange phenomenon in my current job as I have with previous employment. After serving my time and then wondering why my career isn’t advancing, I then decide to take it up with management only to be informed that I am way too valuable where I am and that they couldn’t possibly promote me and remuneration has to reflect the position, so that too cannot be changed. It is a difficult pill to swallow when you see people moving up the ladder by using less honorable methods.
So here we are now living post Nkandla and the various other scandals that have rocked our country. These very lucrative backroom deals have lined the pockets of people across the race spectrum and it would be unfair to say that any race is more corrupt than the other. This way of doing business and becoming successful is now the new normal and when caught the people involved get at most a slap on the wrist. I feel like the DA are trying hard to be the moral and ethical party, but the truth is they have little hope of making any inroads, and might actually end up with less votes.
The ANC sits at its big table and throws scraps to whoever they deem worthy so why would any of the dogs bite the hand that feeds them. As this country enters the “everyone for them self” era, we have to ask ourselves if the survival of the fittest and if you can’t beat them join them mindsets are the only way forward. This means sacrificing the moral and ethical principles that most of us grew up with. If you are like me and can still pay your bills maybe this discussion is a little premature, but what happens when you can’t put food on the table, will you then forsake a ,”hard days work for a good days pay” or will get your hands dirty to survive?