A time for real leadership
THIS week’s deluge of email revelations shows no signs of abating. On the contrary, it would appear the shaky barrier that largely contained the sea of conjecture and speculation about state capture, particularly by a single family over the office of the president, has finally – irrevocably – been breached. There are suggestions a trove of tens of thou- sands more emails awaits discovery and analysis. It is an unprecedented state of affairs in corrup- tion-weary South Africa, potentially dwarfing the Infogate scandal of the apartheid era. Yet there has been little response, official or un- official, in the face of a mountain of highly sug- gestive correspondence, spiced with some bizarre interludes. This is a dangerous and ultimately foolhardy tactic. Metaphorically sticking one’s head in the sand until danger passes will not suffice. Allegations have a tendency to become fact. Failure to respond can easily be interpreted as ar- rogance, encouraging a sense that the key players involved in the scandal are immune to criticism because the rules they operate by differ from those that govern us. In such an atmosphere the conditions become ripe for insurrection because others – those pay- ing for state capture either through tax or fealty or both – feel impotent in the face of such massive and callous insouciance and some may opt to take the law into their own hands because they feel justifi- ably aggrieved. We already live atop a tinder box of anger and seething resentment, all too evident in the violent service delivery protests that sporadically erupt. It takes very little to ignite more disruptive protest action. The only antidote to public disaffection and anger is proper leadership. Can the real leaders of South Africa please stand up?