My Dearest Government: You're forcing me to give up – Part 1

2012-12-10 02:27

{a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=disappointed+woman&search_group=#id=66201250&src=e36d7b2c9f9350a9ec02cc1f5f1e14ec-2-47"}Our leaders. Sigh...{/a}

"An air of despair is settling into the society that has been the pride of many freedom lovers across the globe since it's transition to democracy in 1994. The excitement of watching a country that had been written off as hopelessly trapped in an unwinnable conflict between the white minority apartheid regime and the largely black majority rise against all odds to take bold steps towards becoming a constitutional democracy, is giving way to anxiety. Not even memories of the inspirational leadership of the iconic Nelson Mandela can hide the growing sense of disappointment that the dream of freedom has yet to be reflected in the everyday lives of the majority of the population. After more than a decade and a half of transition to democracy cracks are showing in the system of governance that threaten the idealism on which the society reinvented itself"

These are the words of Dr Mamphela Ramphele, from her latest book “Conversations with my sons and daughters”. Reading these words made me think about the current state of everything happening in South Africa.

Thus it saddens me when I see certain news headlines and responses from our dear government about issues that the people have been questioning, that are continuously left unanswered. Yes, the news headlines are composed by editors and journalists to sell the articles but they derive the content for the articles and headlines from the words uttered by the government representative(s), one could argue that the media distorts the words of these politicians. When the editor crosses the journalism ethics line, there are measures that ensure that there are repercussions, but if the politicians weren’t guilty of uttering those words, why would they be so quick to do “damage control” which comes presented in the form of "press releases”.

I have so much faith in this country, but every single day I question our leaders more and more. I question them mostly because I don’t understand what is going on in this country anymore. And I have every right to question the leaders of this country, just as any other citizen of this country has the same right. So I choose to exercise that right!

One would think in the wake of the mining and trucking industry strikes happening that our dear government would realize that South African’s aren’t happy, but alas they don’t and instead of actually dealing with the situation and mediating the intensity of the violence occurring, they would much rather do press releases or set up another Inquiry that will investigate who was at fault for the disaster at hand. We seldom ever see the outcomes of these Inquiries, especially if it is suspected that public figures are at fault or that the person heading the Inquiry is given no teeth with which they can use to bite the guilty parties.

With the recent budget speech figures I am left to wonder, why are we wasting so much money on hosting soccer tournaments when there are still students getting an education under trees in poor areas? R461 million can go a long way in building schools, hospitals, delivering text books to students who really need it. Yet we’re spending it on a soccer tournament? Yes, there are economic benefits that can be derived from hosting sporting tournaments and we do need to use the white elephants that are the legacy of the 2010 world cup otherwise they will be purely financial burdens on the state and city councils.

Do we even need to change to currency notes to include the face of the great Nelson Mandela? Would he have agreed to the idea had he been consulted on it before any papers were signed? I honestly don’t think so because I don’t think he is conceited. The costs involved in this whole exercise are astronomical considering it was unwarranted.

The ruling party, to my knowledge, hasn’t built one University from scratch since they politically liberated the majority of people in this country. Yet we have the one of the world’s biggest budgets for education. Makes me wonder, thus I compile more questions.

This as a result leads me to question: Where are the pro-active leaders in government?

As much as I criticize the ANC, it is only fair that I highlight my criticism for the DA (Democratic Alliance) too. There is speculation that the DA is too linked to the corporate world (read white capital) of South Africa thus they would be too inclined to protect and enhance the needs or interests of the corporate world over the needs of the general public (read poor blacks). One of the main reasons people think this way is because the backers or if you choose to you can call them funders of the DA, are unknown. So we don't know where their true interests lie. There's reason people think like this in SA, the media in general are not PRO-ANC thus they scrutinize the ANC so much unlike how much scrutiny is done against the DA. Because of this imbalance or impartiality there is a perception that the DA is in bed with the Media owners of SA, this may or may not be true but the perception is there.

Another issue I have with the DA is that they won the running of the Western Cape from the ANC, democratically so if I may add. But since they won they claim that it is now the best run province and Cape Town is now better than it was under the ANC. This is mainly claimed under the guise of Audit Reports, could be doctored or true, I don't know and probably never will.

The issue with this that this claim of success hasn't trickled down to the informal settlements and townships yet the DA wants us to believe it has. Advocates for equality like @murrayingram on twitter are always pointing out the differences between the townships (read predominantly black areas) of Cape Town and the suburbs (read predominantly white). The DA in the Western Cape just like the ANC in the Free State are both guilty of creating toilets without any shelters. I don't care if your excuse is that you consulted the public or residents of the said township before building those toilets and they agreed to the proposal and to put up their own shelters. You as the more intelligent party (that's what you the DA always try to portray yourselves anyways so let's stick with that analogy) should have come up with a better scheme or plan to ensure the toilets had a shelter since you know the residents who need them don't all have the finances to build the shelters.

Also, on the ballot sheet there are many other political parties, during this time, where are they? Should they not be taking advantage of these situations and using them to prove to the people that even though they are small, they have the capacity and ability to affect change in a positive light?

So yes, both leading political parties have their faults, but this blame game that is constantly being played out does not give us solutions to implement to our high stake of problems.

We look like fools to the rest of the world, being played by the greatest jester of all time. So my question is, Is it time for the people to start holding our leaders accountable for their actions and if so, how do we go about it in a manner that proves that we are not to be undermined?

I read a comment that came from the Czech Republic Main Daily Newspaper Editorial that left a lump in my throat, to paraphrase - “The danger to South Africa is not Jacob Zuma but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a Zuma presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Zuma, who is a mere symptom of what ails South Africa. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Jacob Zuma, who is after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

So here we are my fellow South Africans, being called fools on other continents, that leaves me questioning why I should have hope in a country that has leaders who seem to care more about filling their own pockets than doing what’s best for the people.

We’re fighting against you – my dear “leaders” - to protect a legacy that you fought so hard for, one it seems you do not care to continue destroying. So please my dear government, stop with the blame game, start taking ownership of your failures, allow new minds to help you.

Do that, so I as a young South African have no just cause to question why so many others voted you in power. Do it for the betterment of the South African people.

That’s all I ask.

You can follow me on twitter: @LeratoMannya

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