Don’t blame me, it’s the scapegoat!!!

2013-01-30 14:32

There is a worrying and growing mentality which is slowly but surely progressing in South Africa. A lot of people whether they’re elected government officials, teachers, employers, and employees are not willing to take responsibility for their actions and when asked about it they simply say “everybody does it” or “It wasn’t my idea” or “it’s the scapegoat.”

Scapegoat - a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place is the official definition from the dictionary. Only in this context you never get to see or know who it is.

 No one is responsible…

Government and the ruling party have received a tongue lashing from the opposition and critics for not taking responsibility for some of the biggest issues SA grappled with in the past year. Whether it was for the deadly Marikana Massacre or the wave of mine and farm workers strikes no one has stepped up and said “hey it’s our fault things got out of hand.”

Is government the only institution people should be looking at for answers and solutions? The private sector employs these workers shouldn’t they be as much to blame?

Social inequalities, scandalous wages, unhygienic living conditions and long working hours are some of the reasons workers were striking. No one up until today has stepped up to take responsibility of these above mentioned grievances or of what transpired at Marikana that led to the deaths of 44 people. Instead the government has established a commission to investigate the “events” which led to that ill fated outcome. Trade unions, employers, police and the employees give different versions of what happened with no one willingly coming out and saying we were partly to blame.

The same thing happened last year when textbooks in Limpopo were not delivered to some schools six months into the academic calendar. The education ministry blamed service providers who turned and pointed the finger back at government. It’s 2013 and no one has been fired or has taken the blame for not providing learners with textbooks.

 Problem with the scapegoat…

Not taking responsibility teaches people that they can do anything and get away with it as long as they shrug their shoulders and point at the scapegoat. If government, mine bosses, unions and workers are all innocent of these often violent protests that creates the impression that no one is to be held accountable when things go horribly wrong.

In South Africa everyone likes talking about the plight of the poor. According to a five year study conducted by the African Food Security Urban Network 12 million South Africans go to bed hungry everyday. Now in a democratic country like ours, with whom does the responsibility lie with? Is it the current administration, the business community, South African citizens or the poor because they are “afraid” or hardwork?

While it might be easier and less messy to blame someone else for your shortcomings, it creates a culture of lazy people who want all the freedom but none of the responsibility. This mentality seems to be prevalent with our politicians too where they spend millions on catering, private residents and luxury cars. When someone is called to account for such opulent expenditure while millions are starving in SA, politicians simply say blame the ministerial handbook.

Collective accountability is as important as individual in a fledging country like ours. For the economy to grow, to tackle poverty and reduce the level of crime SA needs to become one like we always do when we support our national teams when they taking part in their various tournaments. That level of commitment, pride and unity that we seem to have during sporting events needs to be translated into working together in building a better country for all.

In one of the television shows that I watch someone said something which sums up the ramifications of lack of responsible behaviour. It says “The problem with blaming the scapegoat is it doesn’t acknowledge that at a certain point you have to hold people accountable.…” And in SA that seems to be closer to fact than fiction.

You can catch me on twitter @BongaDlulane.

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