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 email@example.com 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!