A TIME FOR HOPE

The Witness - - OPINION -

AND so it seems we are wit­ness­ing the dy­ing throes of Ja­cob Zuma’s dis­as­trous nineyear ten­ure as pres­i­dent of South Africa. On oc­ca­sions such as these it might be char­i­ta­ble to re­flect on the good that a per­son has done and just be grate­ful that the bad is be­hind us.

But Zuma’s poi­sonous legacy will live with us for years to come.

It will live on in an econ­omy that has been bat­ tered by his greed and reck­less­ness. The fir­ing of Pravin Gord­han as Fi­nance min­is­ter is but one ex­am­ple of how Zuma’s self­in­ter­est dealt bruis­ing blows to the coun­try’s fi­nances.

Cyril Ramaphosa and his fel­low lead­ers will have many sleep­less nights as they set about cor­rect­ing this.

It will live on in de­clined stan­dards of gov­er­nance, of­ten brought about by ap­point­ments of Zu­ ma’s cronies, or those foisted on us by the Gup­tas. The cul­ture of medi­ocrity has taken hold across the coun­try and is ev­i­dent in schools, hos­pi­tals, the end­less queues at Depart­ment of Home Af­fairs’ of­fices, crum­bling roads and in­fra­struc­ture and, well, just about ev­ery­where in the pub­lic sec­tor. Fix­ing these will be a huge task in it­self.

It will live on in the shock­ing per­for­mances of state­owned en­ter­prises, where the cof­fers were plun­dered by the Zuma­Gupta axis and their hand­picked lieu­tenants. How many years will it take for Eskom, SAA, the SABC and oth­ers to re­cover?

It will live on per­haps most pro­foundly in the cor­rup­tion that has taken hold in ev­ery level of gov­ern­ment and which ef­fec­tively robs the poor and most des­per­ate among us.

Un­der Zuma, pub­lic ser­vice be­came seen as a ve­hi­cle for en­rich­ment in­stead of ser­vice. Cor­rup­tion is a dis­ease that has taken hold and sapped the na­tion’s strength. Re­pair­ing the dam­age could take decades.

So we wait ea­gerly to say good rid­dance to Zuma and join fel­low South Africans in turn­ing our faces to­wards the fu­ture.

We do so in the grow­ing hope that it will be a brighter one.

PHOTO: AP

This photo re­leased by the U.S. Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion shows a ringed seal pup in Kotze­bue, Alaska. The seal is the main prey of Alaska’s po­lar bears and will now re­ceive threat­ened species pro­tec­tion. The ninth U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals this week over­turned a district court de­ci­sion and said the Na­tional Marine Fish­eries Ser­vice acted prop­erly in list­ing ringed seals as threat­ened.

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