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The Boo Brigade

17 December 2013, 07:15

Now that it’s over, it’s time to go back to our normal ways. The stadiums are empty, the marquee dismantled, the statue and the old man resting peacefully. We have hosted and listened to the best speeches paying tribute to the old man. We have seen the selfie and the handshake that made headlines across the globe. We have formed long queues like we did in 1994, laid flowers, lit candles and cried. Our tears have all but dried up but the memory lives on. We have made Thamsanqa Jaantjie the most talked about person and pushed him to news headlines all over the world. We have booed the president in front of statesman, stateswomen and millions of viewers worldwide. We have seen the drama between the state and the Archbishop. Our story has come to an end and now we wake up to reality.

We wake up in our South Africa not the South Africa that we showed to the world. We wake up with questions about our future, questions about the future of our children, questions about the future of our country, questions about what the next elections are going to bring us, questions about the spy tapes, the Public Protector’s report, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry and many other issues of national importance. As we seek answers to these questions some people ask themselves about the Zuma booing incident. People have called for an investigation into this embarrassing incident so that can name and shame those behind it.

As we call for an investigation into this incident, we also need to look at why the people behaved the way they did. We need to understand why it happened so that we can be able to prevent it from embarrassing us in the future.

In soccer, when a player is under performing, supporters will boo him to show their dissatisfaction. As children whenever we wanted something and we were guaranteed that we won’t get it, we’d wait for the time when visitors are around and then ask for it again. Surprisingly, this worked on several occasions. When one is being held a ‘prisoner’ one will kick and scream every time someone passes by, hoping that that person will come to one’s rescue. 

The crowd’s booing incident might have been loud and embarrassing but that was a silent call for help. The people of South Africa are being held prisoners and were just trying to call for help. We live in a country were only one person is important and his associates will do anything possible to protect him. Our president is the most important person in the country, he is no longer the servant, but the master and we are just his little servants.  

We have built the president a 200 million Rand compound, spent another 200 million on a road (which he doesn’t use but uses military helicopters) to his village and we continue paying large amounts of money for his legal fees. We spent in total, close to half a billion Rand towards the president alone, we continue paying him a salary and we are going to have to pay for maintenance of Nkandla.

I watched Joyce Banda, the president of Malawi speak at Nelson Mandela’s funeral and it reminded of Zuma’s comments that it was not fair to expect Gauteng roads to be compared to roads in other towns such as Pietermaritzburg, Rustenburg, Polokwane or any other town or national road in Malawi. Joyce Banda is someone that Zuma can learn a thing or two from. When she started her term she took a personal pay cut of 30 percent and in June 2012, in order to reduce the government spending, she decided to sell her jet and a fleet of 60 luxury cars. Our president has spent millions on for his palace and sometimes in May there were talks about buying him a VVIP presidential jet.

Jacob Zuma and his administration have failed to improve the nation's economy, education or effectively battle corruption.  Last year the independent Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution said one-fifth of South Africa’s annual GDP or $81.6 billion, was being lost to corruption and crime.

As embarrassing as it was, the booing of the president as I mentioned earlier was a silent cry for help from the imprisoned South Africans. It feels quiet embarrassing to South Africans that a plane landed at an Air force base and the president didn’t know anything about. The president has renovations at his palace and he doesn’t know anything about them. If the president doesn’t know what is going on with the security in his house and at a military base, how then does he know what’s going on in the country?

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