The power is in our hands
SEASONED journalists and cartoonists across South Africa just cannot get a move-on because President Jacob Zuma stubbornly continues to hog the headlines as well as the cartoons. Saturday’s Weekend Argus was optimally and diversely devoted to Zuma.
The editor had to treat a hackneyed subject with some eye-catching and delicious vocabulary, saying that “those paying for state capture either through tax or fealty or both – feel impotent in the face of such massive and callous insouciance”.
That is indeed so. Zuma’s cheerful lack of anxiety and concern arises from the knowledge that Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula and others in the cabinet and the national executive council (NEC) have his back.
Writer Andrew Donaldson drew attention to Mbalula defiantly saying to The Star newspaper that veterans and stalwarts were the real problem. Just like the white monopoly capitalists, the “filthy and stinking rich” had no business trying to blackmail him and his fellow NEC members. Wow!
Just over a year ago, Zuma had famously asked in Parliament: “Ask Jonas or Guptas about this offer. Don’t ask me… where do I come in?”
The majority of NEC members are equally of the same mind. They also want to know where Zuma comes into the picture in respect of state capture.
To fortify his stance, Zuma is now saying to the opposition parties: “South Africa is not on the road to being a failed state…You need to free yourself from your party’s propaganda and honestly track the progress that South Africa is making.” Wow, again!
Zuma’s rosy portrayal of presentday South Africa calls to mind Shakespeare’s, “Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile”. Zuma’s laughter, tragically, is no laughing matter at all. That he cannot stop laughing while presiding over the mindless looting of the South African state is deeply wounding to the nation. He is a man content with what he is doing.
William Saunderson-Meyer points out that Zuma needs to fear no one because he has made himself “immune to a palace coup”. He did so “through careful appointments and calculated culling”. The national debt is now R2.263 trillion or 47% of GDP. The cost of servicing that debt is R162.4 trillion.The looting that is going on in state enterprises is mindboggling. Transnet is reported to have paid a staggering R93 million without a tender to a company with a Gupta link. The same role-players entered into a kickback agreement with Transnet totalling R5.3 billion. For every locomotive bought from a Chinese manufacturer for R50m, a Gupta-linked associate gets a whopping R10m. The radical looting is so drastic and so pervasive that South Africa is speeding towards becoming a failed state.
Without the constitutionally mandated intervention of the judiciary, the hopeless situation we are in will have given way to unmitigated disaster.
The ruling party sees no wrong and stands to applaud Zuma in the half-empty Parliament as he comes to speak. Their defence on his behalf, inside and outside of Parliament, is robust and unrelenting.
Voters need to organise themselves structurally and organisationally into powerful voting associations or blocs to achieve a common purpose. Job creation, transformation of the economy, education, gender equality, security, promotion of the constitution and other such issues are crying out to be addressed. If voter blocs were to be formed in South Africa, a balance of power will occur. At present, about 50 members of the ANC NEC have total power over the lives of 50 million people.
The impotence that citizens feel at the moment comes from an absence of belonging to a group that has clout and can therefore hold the government accountable. Such a power bloc does not exist. Citizens have to manifest a much greater strength than Cosatu, SACP, stalwarts, the Gauteng ANC, churches and academics.
Those who have achieved state capture are part of a very well organised and influential network, as the leaked emails are showing. If citizens in each street, each locality, each city and each province can become part of a Voters Association of South Africa, power will once again reside with the people. A democracy has to be owned and nurtured by the people. It does not work through proxies – particularly not outrageously corrupt proxies.
My plea is for those who read this to take the initiative and be saved.