No doubt it’s apartheid, but?.?.?.

2013-03-10 10:00

Only a fool would deny that President Jacob Zuma is right in saying that apartheid was a vile and violent system.

It broke up families to an irreparable extent; it alienated black South Africans from their own land; and it pushed people hither and thither and dictated whom we could love, where we could live and what our standard of education could be.

Only a fool would not see the apartheid roots of Bantu education in our current unemployment levels, or how it is behind so much of our violence, be it interpersonal, sexual, random or planned.

Our education system continues to turn out hewers of wood and drawers of water, when what a modern economy needs is rail engineers, advanced plumbers, doctors, accountants and, yes, even lawyers.

These are systemic and historic ills and they impact upon our levels of anger and our levels of violence.

Only a fool would deny that poverty and unemployment are contributing factors in the cesspits of violence that places like Daveyton, Bredasdorp, Diepsloot, Balfour or Meqheleng can often seem to be.

Who broke this society?

There is no doubtapartheid did. But our founding father, Nelson Mandela, did not emerge from jail to see the mess we were in only to throw up his hands and blame the past.

He looked forward. He drove us incessantly northward and it is from his book that President Zuma should take pages as he plans our way out of this abyss of anger and violence.

And, make no mistake, there is no one group of marginally seething and criminally violent people in a sea of “largely peaceful citizens”, as the president suggested to the House of Traditional Leaders at Parliament.

Rapists are often known to their victims, just as murderers often know the people they kill.

All of this is well-known, documented and well-studied. We know each gap and loophole in the criminal justice system (too many key institutions are without permanent leaders, for example).

Yes, our president is correct when he says the moral fibre of South Africa needs to be embroidered anew and that this is a common task for all of society.

But to carry the leadership mantle demands the diligent work of making each case of rape a high priority and of ensuring that each instance of police brutality is investigated and prosecuted to its end.

If Zuma starts with this, we will enter an age of more concrete action.

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