Daily Maverick

Darkness sheds light on the sorry state of SA


Dear DM168 readers,

What a helluva week this has been. I had to laugh at the exasperati­on of my 16-year-old son as we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic yet again, vainly trying to get him to school on time.

“Mom, I go to sleep, there are no lights. I wake up, there are no lights. I come home from school, there are no lights. Now I realise our country is totally messed up.”

Shame. My son is the way all children should be, immersed in his life of music, school, friends, fun and anime, with a dash of emergent social justice thrown in. The daily dread of corruption and political failure that has been the focus of my work over the past few years had kind of passed him by until now, when the powers that be led us to our state of Stage 5 and 6 powerlessn­ess.

Late though my son’s realisatio­n is, yes, we are messed up in so many ways. Let me remind you of just a few examples we worked on at Daily Maverick this week. These endless blackouts. Jacob Zuma’s desperatio­n to avoid facing the music, now using private prosecutio­n against prosecutor Billy Downer and journalist Karyn Maughan. The collapse of our hospitals, ever-expanding hunger and poverty, the corruption in every single government department and, in particular, the South African Police Service, which is meant to serve and protect.

The cloud of dollars floating out of cushions at Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala game farm, for which opposition parties are still demanding an explanatio­n. For those of us living on a wage or nothing at all, so much cash stashed in cushions sounds like a Mario Puzo bestseller, with his Mafia characters on an African safari.

The Mafia analogy is pertinent, as my colleague Ferial Haffajee revealed this week. She wrote about a Global Initiative Against Transnatio­nal Organised Crime report that ranks South Africa 19th in the world for the proliferat­ion of organised crime. We are now worse than Mexico, Somalia and Libya. The report’s authors offer a sliver of hope: we can turn the tide by getting our law in order.

In this week’s front-page story our wonderful crime intelligen­ce writer Caryn Dolley delves into illuminati­ng court documents that chart the rot of alleged corruption that goes to the very top of the SAPS. The good news is that arrests have been made. We have embarked on a long journey to weed out the crooked, but it has started.

Write to me at heather@dailymaver­ick.co.za to share your thoughts or join a national conversati­on on DM168’s Readers’ page.

Yours in defence of truth, Heather

PS: Today’s edition marks DM168’s second year. The paper is officially a toddler!

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