Following Tony Leon’s award-winning biography 'On the Contrary', he has written 'Future Tense', to capture and analyse the squandered and corrupted years since. In his latest book Leon's presents a portrait of today’s South Africa and prospects for its future, based on his political involvement over thirty years with the key power players: Cyril Ramaphosa, Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. Here is an extract from the book entitled 'The clunking hammer of the state' .
The coronavirus cast the harshest possible light on the paralysis of the state. It couldn’t deliver the relief it promised; it couldn’t provide basic health care in some places (the Eastern Cape, for example), let alone personal protective equipment for its health personnel or oxygen for its patients.
But the command-and-control model was mightily enjoyed by those exercising power. The ability to ride roughshod over citizens’ rights, such as whether you could buy a cigarette (outlawed for five months) or purchase slipslops (disallowed for one month), were utterly laughable. Black markets flourished, as did the appearance of several incompetent ministers offering such absurdities, in faux-camouflage uniforms and berets and sporting mini-Cuban lapel flags.