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South African Police – the Keystone Cops. 25 Years ago, SAPS was brutal. Feared and loathed by activists, given that the entire state machinery, including the police, was set up with the intention of preserving the apartheid state. With the demise of apartheid, we all became pals. Not only were SA Police resources spread around more equitably, and rightfully so, policemen also became our best mates. They were no longer a Force, they became a Service. Predictably, crime exploded. The ANC had an opportunity to direct the intelligence services within the police, and the fearsome nature of the beast, towards tackling crime. They didn’t. They stuffed up.
For the last fifteen years, SAPS has lurched from disaster to embarrassing disaster. One national commissioner jailed for corruption, his successor fired, and still under a cloud, for procurement irregularities. His successor laughs her head off at the inquiry into the shooting of 40-something civilians by her guys.
At a high level, President Mbeki forced the closure of many specialised units, notably those related to sexual offences and narcotics. Unsurprisingly, given the prominence of these crimes today, there is talk of the units being re-activated. (No doubt consultants will be appointed to manage this, at great expense, ja well no fine.)
Let us not for one moment forget that in South Africa today, the average policeman is not your friend. He is leaning into your car, telling you how hungry he is, forcing you to hand over money. He is raping women who come to the police station expecting to be assisted. He is shredding dockets for cash. He is hiding behind his station commander, who promises that s/he will investigate the alleged illegal behaviour. Being a policeman used to be a calling. Today it is just another job, and being in the employ of the state, it is also an avenue to becoming rich through nefarious means.
Don’t get me started on the corrupt, lazy and incompetent muppets who make up the bulk of our awful Metro police.
State Security Agency – answer me this… why do we even have a State Security Agency? Are there that many credible threats against the state? Or is it just another opportunity to appoint a chum, to start a new department, with tenders for a building, refurbishment and furniture, the appointment of consultants, and and and… You get the picture.
Sport and Recreation – another topic that is near and dear to me, given my involvement in sport. Minister Fikile is always at the rugby, the cricket, the soccer. High profile sports. But even in such high profile sports, when last did the state pay for a blade of grass for any sort of sports field, or a brick for any sort of pavilion? The state does nothing for grass roots development. And in the lower profile sports, well, good luck with that.
SASCOC is self-serving and borderline dodgy. I don’t get how they have such a huge budget, but cannot afford to send athletes who have qualified, to various Olympiads. Considering they, SASCOC, set the qualification criteria! Also, Olympics come around every four years, why don’t they invest the money in years 1-2-3, so that they don’t have to rely on sponsorships from unknown Chinese sportswear companies in year 4?
And of course the less said about the parlous state of administration of SASCOC affiliates, notably football, atheletics and cricket, the better.
Stats SA – the Ministry of Smoke and Mirrors, aka, the Department of Fudgery. How do you change the official inflation rate? Easy, you determine a new way of calculating it, such that the result ends up being what you want! And the census… useful? Or just another excuse to appoint some consultants, and to go out on tender for more cars and stuff?
Tourism – our lifesaver! South Africa is blessed with outstanding climate, decent infrastructure, charming scenery, world-renowned game parks and friendly citizens. The world flocked here to witness the miracle of 1994 for themselves. South Africa Inc. has made a fortune out of tourism as a result. Isn’t it ironic that the Minister in charge is the former leader of the Nationalists? And a honky?
On the minus side, certain negative aspects of our society have given criminals the idea that they can conduct their illegal activities here, without sanction, under the guise of tourism. Think Mr Dewani honeymooning in SA, so that he could (allegedly) have his new bride bumped off. Consider too, the fact that SA is seen as a major narcotics shipment node.
Trade and Industry – bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy. Like their pals at Labour, the bods at the DTI are all about implementing so much red tape, that nothing whatsoever is possible. If I was starting a business, I’d simply give up, if I look at all the regulations. Only large corporates have the resources to hire consultants who make a living trying the decipher DTI shit.
Remember too, that the DTI is also responsible for the erstwhile CIPRO, themselves embroiled in a multi-million rand tender scandal for IT procurement. And that inefficient CIPRO has morphed into the biblically incompetent CIPC.
If that’s not enough, that toothless pup, the Consumer Protection Commission, also reports to the DTI. Plus the Competition Commission (and its Tribunal). And the Lotto distribution people. All bloody useless.
Transport – another of my personal bugbears. I travel a lot, for work and for leisure. By car, by aircraft. This department by rights shouldn’t exist. Because they are the very definition of useless. Consider these issues… E-tolls and the skullduggery of SANRAL. The road death toll that shows no sign of abating. The taxi recap programme that is an unmitigated disaster. The collapse of Spoornet, and the consequent movement of goods almost solely by road. Bankrupt RTMC – and this is frickin’ bizarre, given every licence renewal in this country includes an RTMC levy. Collapsed National Traffic Police, and the resignation of its boss, due to ‘no budget’. Lawlessness on the roads. Fake licences. Corrupt officials at every licensing office in the country. SA Roadkill allowed to kill dozens every year, and they keep operating. But SA Airlink slips off one runway, due to poor maintenance by ACSA (owned by?), and they get grounded for weeks!!! And last but certainly not least, that f$%^ idiot of a Transport MEC in the Western Cape, Carlisle, who simply doesn’t have a clue. I quiver every time he announces something in the media, because it’s bound to be stupid.
Women, Children and People with Disabilities – or as John Robbie calls them, the Ministry of Everyone but Men. Seriously, does this department ever do anything? Have they ever done anything? (Other than issue tenders and appoint consultants, obviously.) Where is this ministry and its Minister, when stories like Anene Booysen’s come to the fore?
And my diatribe concludes with… The Presidency. His Jacobness. The rapist. The corrupt. The womaniser. Ag, forget it. Couldn’t be bothered.
There you have it. Depressing, isn’t it? Next year is an election year. Will it be more of the same?