We need to face up to some hard truths, us South Africans. We have lowered our standards – for our leaders, for our children, for ourselves – so much that we keep on saying that we are okay when we are patently not.
We drop down in education tables or governance levels or some other measure and we still insist we are okay. We need to be outraged by this continual slide.
Last week we celebrated the implosion of Bell Pottinger in the UK. Yet, here at home, the people who briefed them and paid them to manufacture lies and hate speech, are still out and about and prospering off taxpayers’ money.
There is no consequence. After the deluge of evidence of wrongdoing from the leaked Gupta
e-mails, we know that the Thief-in-Chief lives at our presidential residence, Mahlamba Ndlopfu.
Instead of being afraid that he is headed for jail, he is calmly preparing for yet another disastrous cabinet reshuffle.
The hoary old “it won’t happen to us” won’t work. The idea that we are exceptional needs to be confined to the dustbin of history.
We are becoming that terrible thing: a cliche-ridden kleptocratic state where a small coterie of politically-connected individuals loot the fiscus while the general populace rots in poverty.
That is a direct betrayal of our founding values – that all are equal, and that our government shall be about the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden.
Here are a few things to chew on:
lWe like dictators and we are not ashamed of it. Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, a man who is alleged to have murdered some 300000 of his fellow countrymen, arrived here.
The International Criminal Court said, “arrest him”. Our own courts said, “arrest him”.
Instead, our government lied and ensured that he evaded justice. He is still running free now, just like the wife of the dictator from just north of us.
Grace Mugabe arrived in South Africa, assaulted a citizen, lied about it and was granted amnesty by a South African minister who does not even have the guts to explain to the nation why she took the decision – even when Robert Mugabe calls Gwede Mantashe “stupid”.
Mark my words – in a few weeks, Grace Mugabe will be in Sandton shopping with her sons. Their country has collapsed, their people are here and elsewhere, but the Mugabes have no shame.
That is where we are headed too. After all, President Zuma’s son lives in Dubai.
lWe are nearing a stage where power will reside in one family.
In Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos has enriched his family and is now – after 38 years in power – a protected former president who has installed a crony in office while his daughter owns virtually the entire economy.
In Zimbabwe, the Big Man is in charge and opponents are dispatched to prison brutally.
Here at home, the Zuma children hurl insults at former finance ministers while their father crisscrosses the country to ensure that a member of his family succeeds him.
lIn Zimbabwe, the president’s son-in-law runs the national airline without any relevant experience. In South Africa, the president’s “unfirable” friend seems to be the chairman of SAA for life.
lHundreds of ANC leaders, mainly municipal councillors and officials, have been killed by their own comrades in KwaZulu-Natal since 2010.
We call these political killings and go on with life as though nothing has happened. These are not political killings. There are no political differences between the dead and their killers.
These are killings of people who occupy powerful positions and who are taken out because one of their comrades wants to sit in that chair.
lPoverty is on the uptick. Unemployment is on the uptick. The murder rate is on the uptick. Inequality widens.
It is not a pretty picture. It may get worse unless we, the people, continue to step up the pressure on our political players that this cannot continue.
Over the next few months, the ANC will be eating its own and spewing them out.
That means that civil society needs to be more vigilant than its ever been. Our salvation will no longer come from the ANC. It has to come from us.