If the cap fits ...

2012-08-06 16:02

There’s something particularly upsetting about watching people who you know are consciously doing the wrong thing while pretending to be all righteous and upstanding and acting with your interests at heart.

That’s what’s going down in Durban at the moment. The people who were given the privilege of running the city by several hundreds of thousands of us voters are eating our tax Dinars and telling us that it’s all for our own good.

This city does work. A lot of great things have been done. Local government has – for the first time since Francis Farewell and company conned King Shaka out of 3 000 square miles of land in 1824 – benefited the majority of the people who live in the city. This is a real cool town to live in.

But a massive amount of city cash has been pissed away. A lot of dirty deeds have been done dirt cheap. Some of the dodgiest punters imaginable have gotten seriously porcine off doing sub-standard – or no – work. Needless to say, the areas in which the rules have been pretzeled the worst are those in which service delivery is most needed: housing, public transport, policing, roads.

So when the city reneges on its undertaking to release the province-appointed probe into the brothelisation of the city’s coffers, it becomes pretty clear that the will to get to the bottom of the rot is not there.

It’s hard not to conclude that the province’s intervention was about being seen to be doing the right thing. It’s difficult not to believe that the exercise was about clearing out a couple of layers of bureaucrats and replacing them – not about dealing with the politicians and businesspeople whose dodgy relationships are at the source of what’s wrong with Durban.

It’s also pretty likely that the report also burns bums that are still on seats in city hall and other rarefied places where decisions are being taken “for our own good”.

This is not on. I think I now understand what it’s like to be a Chiefs fan, being constantly let down by those you trust and told that all’s well in the family business. Not cool at all. Good things are being flushed away in front of you while you stand there, openmouthed, watching.

So it’s kind of karmatic that the South African Toilet Organisation has decided to host the 12th annual World Toilet Summit at one of the city’s best-loved – and of course best-funded – white elephants, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, come December. If the cap fits ...

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