Di­ver­sity a strength, not weak­ness

Daily Dispatch - - Opinion -

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 widerang­ing 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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