Adriaan Basson

Get ready for 2018's big clean-up

2017-12-31 07:20
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa (File, News24)

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa (File, News24)

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You are not alone if you feel exhausted, even brutalised, by this long year we now bid farewell.

2017 tested our resilience as a young, rising people, still navigating our way between uncomfortable truths and historical disgrace as we path a way into this brave new world.

We were outraged by the audacity of a certain family of Indian origin who treated our fiscus as their personal piggy-bank; by the greed of a corporate gangster from Stellenbosch who wiped away billions of pensioners' rands in one fell swoop; and by the sheer incompetence and lack of empathy by those entrusted to care for the most frail in our society at Life Esidimeni.

We were thrilled by the jubilance of our neighbours up north as they ousted their dictator of 37 years (albeit in an imperfect fashion); by the incredible efforts of aid organisations, emergency services and communities who pulled together to shelter and feed the people of Knysna after their town was gutted by menacing flames; and by the incredible achievements of the EFF's young leaders to lead from the front in championing education.

In a way, 2017 represented a microcosm of everything that is right and wrong in our beautiful land – all packed into 365 days of outrage, sorrow and ecstasy.

Phew! As the Twitter generation would say, 2017 had zero chill.

In the rest of the world we saw the fall of powerful men who were exposed as sexual predators by a new generation of #metoo activists – a tide that will surely hit our shores in the near future. Two other powerful men – the one an orange "American dotard" and the other a baby-faced "sick puppy" – continued their war of words, threatening with nuclear war as if it was a pillow fight between schoolboys.

Down Under, the Aussies finally endorsed gay marriages. Welcome to the modern world, mates!

With the ANC contemplating the least dramatic way to get rid of President Jacob Zuma, emboldened by the Constitutional Court's dramatic ruling on Friday that Parliament should initiate proceedings that could lead to Zuma's impeachment, 2018 will be no less dramatic.

Expect a number of #OMG push alerts on your phone from News24 this year!

The Big Clean-up by newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to start with haste after the ANC has negotiated Zuma's exit, which could be a fast or a protracted, tumultuous process.

Irrespective of Zuma's move, Ramaphosa – backed by a slight majority in the ANC's national executive committee – will push for a judicial inquiry into state capture to commence without further delay. This will undoubtedly be the biggest "show" coming to your screens in 2018.

Private sector scandals engulfing the likes of Steinhoff, KPMG, McKinsey and MultiChoice, will lead to a new wave of business activism, inside and outside of big corporates. Expect to see and hear more Magda Wierzyckas in 2018, pressuring businesses to clean their houses before they cast stones.

The toxic mix of poor basic education, a declining economy, rampant corruption and institutionalised racism will pose the biggest challenge to Ramaphosa when he becomes president in 2018 (if he doesn't, he is not really in charge of the ANC, which equates to a national calamity).

The government, under Ramaphosa, will simply have to rope in the best minds in the country (of which there are plenty) to design an emergency plan that will improve the lives of poor black people with great urgency. This includes dealing decisively with our public schooling system, stimulating the economy to create jobs, stopping corruption to save money and fighting racial prejudice that prevents black people from creating wealth in a meaningful way.

This is no small ask and 2018 will require all of us to dust off our boots and get with the programme.

Well done for surviving 2017, and take a break before the new dawn breaks!

– Basson is editor-in-chief of News24. Follow him on Twitter: @AdriaanBasson

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