Don’t forget to look beyond the political circus
While the political circus continues to dominate headlines and raise our collective blood pressure – regardless of which seat you have in the big top – the country is not moving forward. In fact, depending on which seat you are in, it is backsliding.
In this analogy, the politicians are not the clowns. Don’t be fooled; they are the ringmasters. While they call an array of press conferences to spinsplain an increasingly bizarre array of statements, counter-statements and half-arsed statements, the country is idling. We must all protest, and we must all use our constitutional right to march and tell the public servants (whose salaries we pay) that – to put it as one protester did – “we are very upset”. However, be sure to look away from the political illusionists for long enough to see what they want you to miss.
Two weeks ago, a number of women stepped forward to tell their stories of being raped and robbed while catching taxis. This week, a woman was gang-raped by a bunch of men in a taxi, then she and her companion were stoned and set on fire.
You’d think the SA Police Service would call a press conference to warn women about these kinds of incidents, and to explain what the combined might of the police force is doing to stop this from happening again. And to possibly offer a follow-up on arrests. But, no.
Look away from the magicians’ sleight of hand to remind yourself that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has not yet admitted accountability for the grant crisis she created. So far, she’s filed an affidavit using the Shaggy defence again – “it wasn’t me”. If she doesn’t pay for her own crisis, we do.
Another social issue we should spend some time debating is how 42 453 schoolgirls were allowed to fall pregnant over the past three years. Then – if that isn’t shocking enough – how is it that 193 of them could possibly be in grades 3, 4 and 5? This is an issue I’m sure the department of basic education is delighted has been lost in the larger political hysterics.
The ringmasters of this particular circus of outrage are hoping that South Africans will pat themselves on their backs and say they’ve done something. We haven’t done enough.
When this circus leaves town, there will still be a lot of work to do by everyone – together.
If we are to deal with the inequalities of our society equitably and honestly, we need to move beyond slogans to solutions that include everyone.
Look away from the illusionists for long enough to see what they want you to miss