It would be an understatement to say that our country simply has problems. No matter how vivid someone wishes to paint the picture, for every problem in this country of ours there seems to be someone who (supposedly) has a solution.
I am not going to rant on about the problems. There is enough of that. All well-informed South Africans are aware of the problems and do not need me to remind them any more. Rather, I am going to discuss my views pertaining to methods employed by those (read opposition parties) who would have us believe that they can solve our problems.
When something goes wrong and we hear it or see it in the media, the oppositions are very quick to call for change and criticize the upper echelons of the government - this is not wrong in itself as pressure needs to be applied this way. However, many a protest in our country - be it the e-tolls, name changes, changes of municipal jurisdiction can be sourced to inadequate involvement of the public. Simply put, you and me never seem to be informed of changes and proposed changes until it is too late.
Before I continue with this point I wish to add just a bit of context. Our government, like many others, is organised in a hierarchical manner. This prevents the need for The President himself to walk from door to door, or put up notices in the local community to announce a local council meeting (as a simple example). This is where I now get to my point - there is indeed someone who is responsible for ensuring that the local communities are indeed informed of happenings that affect them. These people are the ward councilors.
The councilors should be, to the best of their ability, involving every resident in their respective communities with regard to matters of residents' interest. Involvement of the citizens of the country can prevent fiascoes such as what has been happening with the e-tolls due to the fact that citizens would have been adequately informed from the start.
Now I question why is there no enforcement of the duties of the councilors? It should not matter whether the community is poor or rich. The wards are split into manageable sizes such that it is possible for a councilor to personally introduce himself/herself to each household individually, to setup means for which important notices with regards to local meetings can be communicated.
We, the people, can solve the problems - if we know what is going on. The people outnumber the echelons of power. If all want change then change we can get, but we need those who have the position of responsibility at the levels closest to us to work harder, to work better.
Finally, this problem is not isolated to a single political association. It took me nearly two hours (maybe I am simply slow) to confirm that the ward I live in is held by the DA. It was then only that I for the first time discovered the name of the councilor for the ward. Should the oppositions not be applying pressure to the government by ensuring that the communities they represent are well informed - ie. applying pressure through the most powerful entities in the country (the poeple)
We are tackling our problems from the wrong side, upside down, so to say.
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