Are South African's victims of ADD (Activist Deficit Disorder)?

2014-11-28 07:46

Most South Africans, I am sure, are so occupied surviving the trials and tribulations that confront them,that they simply don't pay attention to what happens around them, in their neighbourhood or community.Only if and when it affects them directly do they respond.

Jamie Faith Naidoo, was two year old, and during her brief tenure evidently she was brutally abused and it would seem in plain sight. She lived with her mother, allegedly a sex worker and grandmother and a illegal substance abuser. I find her ordeal, she was voiceless, an abomination and as I listened to speaker after speaker laying blame on how the authorities failed her, I saw the problem for it was not the authorities that failed her, but her immediate neighbours. They must have seen something.  Their silence makes them an accomplice for the law on this is clear and I hope that the authorities investigate thoroughly and take action. In fact evidently it was reported that neighbours used to hear this child crying at night. No one bothered to intervene the day after?

During these 16 days of Activism against violence and Abuse against women,children, the aged and the frail, we read hand wringing comments from people......a little hypocritical in my opinion for suddenly their conscience comes alive and they seek absolution for doing nothing.

Like I said , we are so occupied in the real survivor SA series that we overlook these things, thinking that the authorities would do something. How can the authorities do something when no one actively  and assertively reports these things? Blaming the authorities is a cop out and not a redemption when it is the community, neighbours who have to be alive and to take steps.

Corruption, like apathy and complacency, threatens the very existence of our constitutional democracy.  Effective laws and institutions to combat corruption are therefore absolutely essential.  We have effective laws but  it is the task of the courts to ensure that legal mechanisms against these maladies are as trustworthy and tight as possible, within the demands and parameters of the Constitution. And we the people have to develop a culture to become active citizens.

Here is my question: are South Africans, victims of ADD(Activism Deficit Disorder)?  I would not be wrong if I said "Attention Deficit Disorder". I personally opine they are! And I base this on the flood of response on and off line on social media sites as well as on talk show radio.

Our courts  and authorities, however, can only do so much.  A corruption free, abuse-free society can only develop in the hearts and minds of its people, you and I and not only in the ones occupying positions of political and economic power.  We need dedication to the spirit and high aspirations of the Constitution.  Institutions are tools designed to help people realise their ambitions.  Much dedication is required on the part of those handling the tools.

Of course the structure of our institutional watchdogs , which we have in abundance, must be made as immune to corruption as well tolerating domestic violence and abuse  as possible.  They must be afforded powers to prosecute offenders.

Having laws and regulations that thoroughly close all perceived loopholes will guarantee little. Baby Jamie Faith Naidoo is a ,pardon the  pun, living testimony of this.The more procedures and processes we put in place to safeguard against such maladies, the more plausible deniability we give to the corrupt  and abusive actor if all the technical boxes have been ticked.  Generally, abstract institutional designs cannot be corrupt.  As we know, people can be. Human beings nog al.

Our Constitutional Court passed judgment lamenting at our failure as civil society for permitting corruption, something that is destroying our constitutional democracy. Read "Helen Suzman Foundation v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others; Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others [2014] ZACC 32 (27 November 2014)" which is accessible on the web site of the Constitutional Court or from and read for yourself.

Stop being an ad hoc activist. Rather show zero tolerance for what ails our community and country and call both the perpetrator and authorities to account. If the authorities fail, take to the courts as the Constitutional Court tells us to.

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2010-11-21 18:15

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