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THE greatest Greek philosopher Plato is reputed to have said: “One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.
I have a former colleague who boasted that since the dawn of democracy he had never taken part in any election as he saw no benefit to himself in the whole process.
Mind you, this has never stopped him from having strong views on politics and national issues. Every time he would venture an opinion, I would remind him that he chose not to vote.
My point was that if one withdraws from actively taking part in the political processes and any kind of civil participation that person has abdicated any right he had to comment about politics and politicians.
He has given that right to others, so he must accept whatever comes along with it.
Judging by what is going on in our body politic, was Plato correct? Are we ruled by our inferiors? Have we left the space for our “inferiors” to occupy?
One thing about nature – it never allows a vacuum. I am sure this is what led to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best selling author and influential social media writer Bryant H McGill saying: “The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places”.
Our country is full of examples of this. In the last two weeks we have seen Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini tying herself up in knots trying to explain her role in the Sassa debacle.
Then there is the Eskom parliamentary hearing that has exposed the rot at the top of our biggest and most important SOE. As if that is not enough, the Life Esidimeni arbitration has been exposing the callous and murderous attitude of the government towards the most vulnerable members of our society. Where is the rest of society while these cretins are running amok? Politics seem to trump everything.
You can be as useless and incompetent as you like, but as long as you are onside of the powerful clique, you will be fine. Play your political cards right and you will be untouchable.
How do you explain that no one has been held accountable for the taxi rank in Komani that was finished a couple of years ago but still remains unused?
Who is held accountable when Enoch Mgijima Municipality is reported to be looking for a R40-million loan just to stay afloat? Who is held accountable when the infrastructure has deteriorated to such an extent that some streets are totally impassable? With the rains, many streets have been looking like rivers.
Let us hope the winds of change sweeping through the upper echelons of government will reach down here. Surely, we can not continue like this. We seem to be on autopilot. Sadly, Plato and McGill were correct.