Amandla! Viva Nkandla!

2012-10-22 16:25

AMANDLA, my ass. If this Nkandla mess is the kind of “freedom” the ANC and its voters signed up for then I have to once again make a decision on whether to laugh at the absurdity or cry at the tragedy of it all.

It’s remarkable is it not, that Dear Leader (DL) chooses a time of economic uncertainty, nay, economic meltdown, to revamp his family “compound” to the tune of, depending on whom you believe, R203-million to R248-million? This Marie Antoinette (“let them eat cake”) character, he who blithely shrugs off protest by ignoring South Africa’s recent international credit rating downgrade with a: “It’s happening to other countries all over the world”, or words to that effect, is living in a Walt Disney World of fantasy, fairy godmothers and a self-satisfied financial bubble which needs serious deflation. Oh and by the way, isn’t  the word “compound” when used in this context an apartheid horror which used to describe run down servant quarters almost exclusively peopled by Blacks?

It beggars belief that about R20-million was earmarked for 20 new houses in DL’s mini-kingdom, ostensibly for bodyguards and that a R2,3-million lift has been installed for “security” reasons for the exclusive use of DL and his visiting VIPs. Twenty-plus bodyguards are not there for protection – they’re a private army. This lift, wait for it, is to transport said VIPs and assorted hangers’ on into the main house from an underground bunker. An underground bunker? Are we missing something here? Is South Africa in danger of an imminent nuclear attack? We need to be told.

Personally I believe the new buildings are not for the use of bodyguards at all. They are part of DL’s risk management strategy, looking forward to his eventual retirement/overthrow and accommodation in fact for planned future wives and possible offspring. In the well known words of John McEnroe: “You cannot be serious”! DL certainly must have been laughing up his substantial sleeve when he, or whoever, decided to spend an additional couple of million on air conditioning as “part of an overall security revamp”. Is it just me or have I missed something really important about the effectiveness of air conditioning against radiation poisoning?

DL’s casual and irresponsible use of hard-earned taxpayers’ money should not however, come as a surprise given the track record of the organization he leads – one that spends untold millions on luxury hotels, hundreds of slaughtered oxen and swimming pools full of booze at such important events as the ANC’s centennial parties, political rallies better known as political piss-ups and endless overseas visits on “fact-finding” missions for himself and his henchmen (henchpersons?). The irony of spending all this money in the face of massive unemployment among the ranks of the poor sods who voted for him obviously escapes DL. If it doesn’t then he is deliberately heading along the beaten path so regularly trodden by many other DLs over the years in poor, benighted Africa. This is the path that leads to misery, starvation, the pleading with outstretched begging bowls and ultimately, the collapse of a once healthy society.

One does not have to be a Nobel Prize economist to understand the basics: Spending more than you earn is unsustainable, whether it is from one’s own rapidly shrinking household income or billions of your country’s money on “necessary” expenses.

When, oh when will the greedy and corrupt, not only in South Africa, learn that to hold the position of DL carries with it an enormous responsibility (if they understand the meaning of the word) towards their countrymen? They have long ago lost sight of the fact that they rule by the will of the people for the people and not by some divine right. They fail to understand that freedom is not an abstract ideology but a real, burning desire inherent to all people. Freedom did not only mean the overthrow of apartheid and its minions; it meant that basic human rights were available to all. Freedom includes not only rights such as the right to vote, to education, to live in a fear-free society but also to live in a country where DLs act on their responsibilities in a way that will offer better lives for all and not just for a few privileged, maladjusted fat-cats who simper and grovel when in the public eye while all the time scheming and plotting ways to enhance their already heavily-laden bank balances.

In other words and in the true sense of the word, they fiddle while Rome burns.

In the News24 report which inspired this Voices piece, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi defended the spending by saying a “frank assessment” of security at Zuma’s compound showed a “deep rural area in which there was basically none of the services we all take for granted in an urban area.” Well, good for him. There are hundreds of “deep rural areas” in need of urgent upgrades, many of them simply requiring basic needs like running water, reliable electricity supplies – if such a thing still exists in SA – and even all weather access roads. I can’t quite frankly think of any of those who would complain if they were given these things, even at the expense of not having lifts to transport them from shack to shack, air conditioning to cool the blistering corrugated iron walls in the summer and even, yes, panes of glass in their window frames installed for a cool R3-million. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

To get down to the brass tacks, or should that be a “brass tax” which will undoubtedly have to soon be imposed to pay for Nkandla and its ilk, DL and his “mini-me” crowd in the ANCYL need a huge wake up call. The question remains, that come the next election, will they be given one? Strangely, probably not.

Hamba gahle, South Africa.

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