How many must die to be heard?

2011-04-09 14:52

I have an eerie feeling of despair about Mpumalanga. As each day goes by this feeling grows stronger.

It is like being in a school where bullies rough up their peers every day while teachers fold their arms in the hope that one day the torture will just end by itself.

Fear is the pulse of everyday life in this province where politicians, civil servants and ordinary citizens alike are tormented for taking a stand for what they believe is right while no one in national government or the ANC’s national executive committee has the guts to confront the malady and provide a long-lasting cure.

A lot of political rhetoric has been foisted on us about the political assassinations in Mpumalanga but no decisive action has been taken. Instead, we see our police gradually losing the public’s trust and their own integrity as they apparently get drawn into siding with factions in the ANC.

Stories abound of people being kept under surveillance and their phones being bugged just because they know too much.

Some civil servants loathe corruption wholeheartedly but they cannot blow the whistle for fear that they will be victimised.

The ever escalating community protests (either directed at poor service delivery or manipulation of councillors’ nomination processes), corruption and the climate of fear should have already sent a warning sign to those sitting higher up to act. But no, the situation will have to sort itself out.

That is fallacious thinking. The yoke is getting heavier and heavier to carry.

People of this province need somebody to listen to them.

This reminds me of the story of commandos who conducted a reign of terror on farm labourers in the province’s Wakkerstroom area in the early 2000s in order to force them off white farmers’ land.

Non-governmental organisations whined and whinged for many years about the killing, maiming, torture and abuse of the farmworkers but no one had the courage to act quickly and decisively.

Police were at the centre of things there as they were accused of bungling the workers’ complaints to please the commando members, who were also farmers.

By the time the commando system was abolished, many farm ­labourers had permanent deformities – amputated legs and damaged eyesight – from the torture.

Again, people are asking how many have to die or bear scars or how much taxpayer funds need to vanish before one realises that something really bizarre is happening in this province.

Political and government leaders in Mpumalanga surely account to somebody, and that person must crack the whip – now.

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