2013-10-13 10:00

The posters announcing that e-tolls were brought to the drivers of Gauteng by the ANC has raised questions about what else the ANC has bequeathed.

Here’s our choice of its five best and worst achievements.

1.?Freedom – Let it never be forgotten that the ANC, along with the larger liberation movement, brought us freedom. It is South Africa’s most precious quality.

2. The Constitution – In the days when it had a bigger vision and a deeper heart, the ANC convened discussions on what could be.

One of those conventions was the Constitutional Assembly, which gave us our wonderful founding document.

3. A Lula moment – While union bosses push for a radical “Lula moment”, styled after the former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in fact we have one. South Africa has a social safety net that supports 16?million people.

This is significant and is too often ignored as important equity.

4. Peace – When you look at what has happened in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia as well as other parts of post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa where regimes have not easily embraced democracy, our peace is a great asset.

5. Openness – It is not long since South Africa ran a closed and isolated economy and society.

Democracy ended our time as a pariah and ushered in a period when South Africa is an able and respected member of the international community.

On the other hand?...

1. Inefficiency – The democratic state is inefficient. We do not effectively use available funds.

This is most evident in education, where public schools, on the whole, are less effective than they should be, to the detriment of a generation of young people.

2. Service – We have more civil servants than ever before (1.3?million and counting) but service levels are poor.

This is most evident in our public hospitals, where poor service and poor skills are often a deadly combination.

3. Corruption – Many people say corruption was worse under apartheid.

But is apartheid really a good measure? The ANC has failed to deal with corruption in any significant way.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan reckons the state loses R30?billion to corruption annually. That’s a lot of money.

4. E-tolls – There is nothing wrong with the principle of users paying for public roads, especially when they are as impressive as our highways, but you can’t keep imposing taxes on the middle class.

5.?Integrity – There is a worrying gap between what the ANC says it will do and what it actually delivers, which has led to a crisis of credibility.

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