OPINION: Diversity a strength, not weakness

The countless shortfalls of the ANC government, especially during President Jacob Zuma’s tenure are a matter of public record.

They have been elaborated on in countless articles in the media over the years.

They have been laid out in detail repeatedly by the former public protector Thuli Madonsela, most recently in her “State of Capture Report”, also in the academic research project’s “Betrayal of the Promise: How the Nation is Being Stolen”, and by the South African Council of Churches’ “Unburdening Panel Report” among others.

Many books have been written on the degeneration on the institutions of state and of democracy overall in South Africa and the imminent danger facing this nation as a direct result of the ANC-endorsed leadership of Zuma.

The latest of these books, and perhaps the most disturbing, is Jacques Pauw’s The President’s Keepers.

And it is deeply worrying that Pauw feels the contents of his book represent “just the tip of the iceberg” of the corruption happening under the present leadership.

The most appropriate response to these allegations by any serious government would be to institute wide-ranging investigations.

Any self-respecting leadership would immediately suspend all of those implicated in the book still in the employ of the state to allow for these investigations.

This has not happened.

Instead the State Security Agency (SSA) has pressed charges against the author.

Think about that for a minute.

This is a huge embarrassment not only to the ruling party (if it has the capacity to be embarrassed), but to South Africa at large.

Our government has grossly misrepresented us as a nation looks the other way when confronted with proof that the law has been horrendously broken by those in power.

And it jumps to take action against those who expose wrongdoing.

This is an unforgivable betrayal of everything we expect of those we mandated to lead.

It is a terrible example to our children.

It is simply unacceptable!

The Zuma government continues to trample over everything we value. It seems its hope is that we will give up and accept these violations as our reality.

It is a government which appears to want to entrench a sense of disempowerment and defeat among its citizens.

This government has presided over some of the worst violations of human rights.

Need I mention the Marikana massacre, Esidimeni Life deaths, the young children who die needlessly in pit toilets at schools or near their homes, the farmers who are murdered in their homes, grandmothers and children who are raped and murdered everyday.

We must be clear. We will never accept this type of abuse or unnecessary suffering as the status quo and certainly not as our fate.

We will never accept runaway crime as our final reality.

We will not allow ourselves to be divided by leaders who care about nothing except their own full tummies and fat bank accounts in Dubai.

If we did not accept what was forced onto us by the apartheid government, we certainly will not accept this terrible state of affairs forced onto us by this government.

What then do we do?

How do we combat the degeneration which has been deliberately entrenched by a criminal-led government?

If our law-enforcement agencies will not come to our rescue, what then?

Can we hope the ANC, being at the forefront of the current degeneration and instability, will rise up and lead us out of this mess?

Should we follow the shenanigans of ANC power contestation in the hope that the December ANC conference will give birth to a renewed and suddenly liberated ANC?

If, by the ANC’s own admission, the culture of vote buying has already become entrenched, what kind of good outcome are we supposed to expect?

What is clear is that ordinary, decent, peace-loving South Africans have to find each other.

We must find the same strength which led to the formation of every political, social and economic movement that has gone before us.

We possess the necessary will and skill to extricate ourselves from an existence which is far less than we are capable of building together.

As South Africans we have converged from different backgrounds and outlooks.

Our diversity is our strength. Not our weakness.

It is time we looked at ourselves as a single nation.

Instead of taking up an outlook as a people with contesting aspirations, let us take the view that our aspirations are intertwined and that our potential for greatness lies within our interdependence.

This is the major shift in outlook that is necessary and which will see us act, not for the sake of self-interest, but for the long-term interests of our nation.

Instead of each one fighting for his or her corner, rather let us work to realise a South Africa where all of us have a meaningful role to play.

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