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The Rep - - EDITORIAL - ... with Phumelele P Hlati

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.

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