So, we are chilling over Phuza Thursday cold ones when a topic breaks...again, to my chagrin.
From this forth quart I'm sipping, it seems South Africa has be thrown into a spinning dungeon of worry following "revelations" that the 25 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parliamentary representatives will be earning a whooping R23.3m this financial year.
To most people who'd rather see economic revolutionaries starving, this is an extreme case of political hypocrisy and chicanery on the part of these parliamentary sophomores. How divine their wit.
"If you genuinely want all South Africans to live a better life why don't you meekly go ahead and surrender your R933 852 annual salary to the poor?" The logic is that if the EFF revolutionaries truly desire to see South African workers earning decent minimum wage they should require parliament to slash their salaries and rather pay all 25 members R1 000 a month each. If this is not a suggestion that the economic freedom fighters be turned into parliamentary slaves, then I don't know what in the hell the noise is about.
Okay, so EFF leader Julius Malema is sending his son to private school. That's a big issue, right? Malema's son should instead, like all the children of people earning less across the nine provinces of our service-delivery protest-torn nation, be subjected to public schooling although his father earns nearly a million rand as a "bench-warmer" in parliament.
I hear you. I am listening carefully. Why not? After all, wasn't it Malema who proposed that all public servants should be forced to use public facilities and services?
I am laughing out loud. It seems that common sense has become a hot stock on the JSE, no wonder we can't all be seen flourishing in something that only needs one spoonful of critical thinking.
As I wait to for my impending crucifixion all over our beloved social networks for my laughing stance on this stupid matter, here is a simple question to consider:
Did Malema call for elected public representatives to use public services because he wanted them to side with the poor or did he make the call in order for service delivery to be accelerated?
I know most (deliberately) didn't hear the question. I will therefore paraphrase. Was the EFF calling for public representatives to use public services as a test of the quality of services or as show of political allegiance to the poor? Why did Malema choose to use the word "force" public representatives? How do you force public representatives to use public services without enforcing it as a law?
Doesn't this say that Malema thought, or at least wanted his supporters to think, that he would be in government after May 7? Wasn't this in line with his promise of quality service delivery under an EFF government? So, now that he is a bench-warmer, unlike National Freedom Party's Magwaza KaMsibi who's just been named deputy minister of science and technology, should subject himself to the same services he is complaining about? What is the rationale here?
Do people fail to understand the difference between solidarity and a call for quality service? It is my view that the government that boasts about sterling services should themselves use those services to confirm their quality. There was a case in Mpumalanga where a mayor who claimed that service delivery protests against toxic water in her municipality were unjustified. Challenged to have a glass of water from one of the taps in the area, where some people had died while others were hospitalised, she flatly refused. Some years later, when the water quality had improved, a number of MECs went to the area and drank the water for all cameras to see.
Now, given this real scenario, should the journalists who were challenging the mayor to drink her municipality's water be forced to also drink the water in solidarity with the people? Hell no. Why? Those journos were not in any position to deliver quality water to the Mpumalanga community, but were in a better position to make the necessary noise against lack of clean water in the area.
However, is it right to challenge the mayor to drink the water herself? Damn right. She is the one who said the water was fine and, moreover, she is the one who had the higher task of delivery the water to her community.
The same can be said about the EFF. They have a right to challenge the executive leaders to use the same services they rave about. They have a good story to tell, don't they? Let them experience the story to show that it is good. When children were without textbooks in Limpopo, the children of our leaders were enjoy quality education that we pay for while these leaders were not doing what we pay them to do. Instead, they were doing the opposite.
Instead, our leaders chose to protest against Brett Murray's Spear, with some threatening to strip naked in protest of satire. None of them threatened to protest against the ministry of basic education and its contractors who failed so many children. And now all of them are calling for Malema, who has no cabinet post, or a department to run, to send his son to schools that need three court orders to deliver textbooks. What for? For solidarity? Solidarity my black donkey.
This is about services, and nothing else but services. The call for elected public representatives to use public services is nothing else but a call to put these "quality" services to the test. That's the reason the EFF was happy when Motsoaledi used a public hospital to be treated for an illness he suffered not long ago. Why did Motsoaledi do that? He wanted to show that "I have truly hauled the service around this hospital."
And that's the reason, even those of us who are vociferous critics of the ruling party, have to applaud His Excellency President Jacob Zuma for reappointing Motsoaledi in his position as health minister.
However, don't jump the gun and think for once we will celebrate Zuma's million rand fire pool when rural community survive on dirty water. This is not about Zuma; it's about the message being sent to the electorate. Just think for a second, what would have happened in Limpopo if all of Zuma's younger children were going to school there, where textbooks were found floating on streams? Only three things would have happened: (1) Zuma's kids would be sent to a better school (God forbid), (2) Zuma's kids would have been bought new textbooks with their daddy's hard-earned money or received donations from Edu Solutions (3) or the minister would have been fired, if not instructed to deal with the contractor immediately or both.
Now, what nonsense is this I hear about EFF and parliamentary benefits? What is this I hear about medical aids? Shouldn't people choose their own medical aids? What is this nonsense I hear about overalls and maid attire? I didn't know that parliament was giving free clothes to MPs. And mind you, those elegant dresses and suits that we see in parliament every week day is the reason our taxes go missing every year. You can't wear designer clothes everyday and not end up being party to the disappearance of R25 billion of taxpayer's money. Unless of course - admittedly - all parliamentarians have booming businesses outside the corridors of the National Assembly.
There is no issue here. Let is go and hold a national debate on Thuli Madonsela's report. That's the real issue. Let's talk about the DRC mining deals linked to a nephew of the country's most powerful citizen. That's the issue.
If you will, let's talk about Malema's failure to pay his taxes. That's the issue. Malema trying to avoid sending his son to messed up public schools because the current government is failing to live up to its promises. That's not an issue.
The issue is that our country has serious issues but none of us are serious about them. All we care about is to cause a storm in a teacup.
The Tavern Preacher