Instead of rectifying issues to ensure better governance, the messenger is shot, writes Wayne Duvenage.
The message that civil society hears when it points out problems or issues is: how dare it be so bold as to question the rights and decisions of those in authority when spending public funds in the way they do.
The people should shut up, sit down and stop complaining.
I'm amused and somewhat saddened (no longer shocked) by the evasive and often vitriolic reaction to criticism of government conduct, especially when the reasons and need for critical thinking are so glaringly obvious.
True to character, the denial and defence of unacceptable conduct by governing authorities and their agencies is spin-doctored away by shooting the messenger, or deflecting the real and substantive issues with a deft display of ostrich mentality... if we ignore the problems for long enough, they must surely disappear.
Taking a look at just one graph helps us to better understand the gravity of the situation that I'm speaking about. Herein lies the mindset of those who manage or operate within the space of our municipal financial affairs.
The graph below displays the percentage of three main categories of financial hygiene and discipline, displayed over a five-year period by our municipalities and metros, as determined by the office of the Auditor General (AG). The real issues, however, go well beyond the concerning picture portrayed in the graph.