President Pravin

2016-10-27 11:23

So here is a question. Is South Africa sufficiently evolved democratically to elect a non Black President? It’s not a given. And I get why. Considering the countries shameful past, it cannot be assumed that because we have moved beyond a racially divided political environment, that all such issues have dissipated.

On the contrary.

If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that racism is still alive and well and happy to be exploited by all sides of the rainbow. From Penny Sparrow to Mcebo Dlamini South Africans are struggling to let go of the fear and animosity that divides the nation.

But, if we are able to look beyond pigmentation, we might have found just the guy for us. In the form of the current Minister of Finance. In the form of Pravin Gordhan.

Given his performance in 2016 I wonder if there can be any doubt as to his ability to remain focused on the outcome and not set off course by the distractions placed in front of him. Most of us would have fled for the hills a long time ago, bearing in mind the pressure that he has been placed under. Consider further that his intention was to save the country from economic disaster all whilst Nero not only fiddled but ignited the flames whenever they showed signs of flagging. It’s quite remarkable that he did so.

And unlike the current violinist, he is a numbers guy. South Africans across the all political lines are suffering from a rare form of numbers PTSD. Meaning we tense up whenever a politician mentions a numerical value over one thousand. Like apartheid, I believe that it will take more than a generation for us to get beyond this and I suspect it will only be my grandchildren who will be able to listen to a President say Eleven Million without cringing.

And he stays awake for his whole budget speech. Which is nice. And which is unlike the current musician, who seemed to assume that the presentation didn’t apply to him. Actually, he might well be right.

Gordhan has credibility. He was part of the struggle movement. He is hard working and has consistently put the country above his personal needs. He has shown himself to be trustworthy, which is quite remarkable considering the numerous attempts to discredit him. Ironically in fact, the more President Zuma and cronies have attempted to destroy his reputation, the more he has been lauded and the more the people of the country have stood behind him.

No one doubted his innocence. No one needed confirmation that the charges were bogus and no one doubted that it was all part of a political plan to destroy him. So much so that even as the local press began revealing the outrageous story behind the story,the reaction was so muted that it was clear that this was already assumed.

Hell. I might even vote for the ANC if he were to be chosen to lead.

There are not many Statesmen in the world. In a cynical and tarnished globe, we are programed to doubt and to be skeptical of anything that any politician tells us. And yet, as I listened to his budget yesterday, I found myself not only wanting to invite him over for Friday night dinner with the family, but believing that if we did what he was suggesting, that we could make this country all that it should be.

I believed, for the moments when I listened to him, that if we just paid our taxes, that if we just did what he suggested, that if we drank from his wisdom, that Nero would put down his matches and that we could rebuild our Rome.

Really, Pravin needs to lead South Africa.

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