Lies, Damn Lies and ANC statistics

2013-05-31 06:41

The other day I was driving down the M2 freeway from Johannesburg to the East; I saw these nice posters with statistics on them, posted by the ANC run Gauteng government. These posters had on them some remarkable numbers about people they have ‘reached’ to deliver a social service.

The millions stated on these posters were really impressive, when one looks at them in isolation from all the other ills plaguing our society; however I wasn’t fooled. You see, being educated, I understand how numbers can be manipulated and presented in a way that they tell a biased story, one that the presenter wants the reader to focus on. This is exactly what the numbers on the posters were showing; a biased view of accomplishment, with no comparative to show whether these numbers actually dented the backlog in housing, access to education, healthcare and social services.

These numbers intentionally omitted to show the number of people who died in hospitals due to negligence by hospital staff. They failed to show how many people were turned back from hospitals at the end of a long day in a queue, because there were not enough doctors or nurses in the outpatient department to get through to them in time. They failed to show how many clinics in the country only dispensed a pain killer to their patients because that was all they had in store to give them.

These numbers failed to show how many hospitals in this province (or country for that matter), that did not have enough staff or equipment to treat the sick.

These numbers failed to show how many people are still staying in shacks in the province, after being on a waiting list or another for years, while corrupt public servants sold places on the waiting list to the highest bidder. They failed to show how many houses are inhabitable because of poor workmanship, which was never detected due to corruption by service delivery personnel, who would rather take a bribe than go out there and inspect houses to make sure that they are habitable and build to required standards.

These numbers failed to show how many people are still staying in shacks because funds allocated for building houses were depleted due to over-inflated prices charged to the government by our creative tenderpreneurs. They again failed to show, how many people still die in fires from paraffin stoves or make braziers (imbawula), due to lack of access to electricity.

From an education perspective, these numbers failed to show how many students fail to progress through the end of the schooling process because our schooling system does not cater for hands-on skills effectively. They failed to show how many schools are housed in containers or dilapidated buildings because the money set aside for infrastructural improvement does not reach those needy schools. These numbers failed to show how many teachers are absent from teaching but still get paid a full salary as if they did a good job of teaching.

The numbers did not show how many students exit the schooling system before they reach matric because they are not able to access the right resources relative to their intellectual abilities.

What really gets to me about the way the statistics are posted is that they paint a picture that ordinary citizens would take in hook, line and sinker. They are stated in such a sneaky way that even a fairly educated mind might take them in without thinking much; and this is exactly what the ANC is hoping for. Truth be told, a lot of people will look at these stats and think the ANC is performing; we all know that this is not true.

A while back, some brouhaha was made around a call centre that the president decided to set up somewhere out there, in order to provide citizens with easy access to the government. Never mind the fact that the tax payer pays salaries for teachers, nurses, police and the general public servant; never mind the fact that the tax payer pays for managers in local, provincial as well as national government. We still needed a call centre on top of that. The last one saw of this call centre was when the president took the first call and that was the end of it; the tax payer continues to pay.

So, I have decided that I will continue to canvass against the ANC getting majority votes in the next election. I am not canvassing for a specific party to get the votes; I am encouraging the de-motivated older voters and the naïve young voters to start voting with their heads when they get to the election next year. I know that this is a tough call, but it is not impossible; especially since I started early this time, to warn my community against the pitfalls of voting for a party that feels the whole country owes them a favour.

I am sick and tired of the lies and manipulation that gets plastered all over the show during election time; only for these people to recede into their luxury homes, driving around in the luxury cars, while the poor continue to suffer.

It is time citizens like me, that understand how statistics are manipulated, started educating the poor masses in order to protect them from this manipulation. Like I said, I have already started.

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