Cruising at high speeds with no one at the wheel

2008-04-19 00:00

A graduate of the African National Congress’s University of Robben Island once told me that the party is a huge omnibus encompassing all types of people including doctors, lawyers, labourers, illiterate people, civil servants and even prostitutes. This is a clear picture of how the organisation reflects every shade of South African society.

Of late, the party has incorporated a dark and shameful shade of South African society. Because the party is in power in all three tiers of governance (national, provincial and local) and is consequently in charge of coffers equalling hundreds of billions of rands, the omnibus now also houses thugs, thieves and organised illegal vehicles similar in size and activities to the Mafia.

It is an open secret that some members of the party are involved in illegal activities which continue to hinder service delivery, whether the party concedes this or not.

The arrest of senior councillors of the Msunduzi Municipality came as no surprise and the question is: “Why are only a few individuals being prosecuted when the real people behind the corruption and mismanagement are roaming freely and are covering their tracks?” This is not the first time that this has happened and Tony Yengeni is the only member of the ANC who was brought to book for his involvement in the arms deal. Yet past and present cabinet ministers and members of Parliament continue to make decisions about the Scorpions before they can sting them. Turning a blind eye to the “real” culprits gives life to the argument that the Scorpions are being remotely controlled by the very people they should be investigating and prosecuting.

This brings me to the ANC mantra of “creating a better life for all”. The so-called better life has not reached the poorest of the poor who must wonder when the not-so-new dispensation will impact their lives as the masses who voted for the party. Instead, they find themselves drooling at councillors driving around in flashy gas guzzlers, which cannot be financed by their low salaries. They are obviously able to do this because of the kickbacks and the bribes they receive by virtue of their positions. Contrary to the party mantra, they have no interest in the masses who put them into power. Eighty percent of the votes which determine the party’s leadership, as we saw in Polokwane, is determined by branches which are made up of normal people who are most affected by the interest rates and petrol increases. This should count for something.

There are countless members of the party who are committed to changing people’s lives for the better, but there are others who are skimming all the cream, leaving nothing for service delivery. The scary thing is that the party is doing little to hold people accountable. Passengers of the ANC omnibus all seem to want to drive the vehicle at the same time. At times, no one seems to be driving the omnibus as it cruises at high speeds, while packed to capacity.

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