Sunday World (South Africa)

The grim reality is South Africa is in trouble


Violence, intoleranc­e, lawlessnes­s – all these negatives have taken grip of the country. Might we say this situation is increasing­ly becoming gloomier by the day?

Children and women are dying because of wanton violence meted by men. Almost every South African has lost confidence in the police and its leadership. Political assassinat­ions continue relentless­ly. Acts of sabotage, as we learnt recently, visited Eskom. Now “a person of interest” has been arrested.

As matters stand, why would any person engage in such alleged criminalit­y when Eskom is in such a precarious position to provide power to citizens?

Could it be that there is some level of truth in claims that in addition to Eskom’s obvious failures, a political hand of sabotage could be at play? We do not have evidence to validate the assertion, but we are mindful that where there is smoke there ought to be fire.

In less than a month, the ANC goes to its national elective conference to elect new leadership. Generally, this should be a moment of jubilation, but it is not. Things and events have taken a bad turn. The ANC is at war with itself, and the mood of jubilation has been replaced by a spirit of mistrust and sadness from communitie­s who placed their trust in the organisati­on.

What the Nasrec conference will turn out to be is difficult predict because the ANC of today no longer reflects the values of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo.

The words of former president Kgalema Motlanthe that the ANC requires rescuing, should not be taken lightly.

They are words of wisdom from a man who is concerned about the wellbeing of an organisati­on he has served for most of his life, spending 10 years of that life on Robben Island to liberate the country from the injustices of the past.

Why is the Nasrec moment an important occasion for all South Africans and not only the ANC? In many ways, there can be no denying, even as the ANC limps, that whatever outcome emerges from Nasrec, South Africans will be impacted by it.

Millions of South Africans are unemployed, the economy has stagnated and is not creating jobs to stem the tide of increasing unemployme­nt. Many graduates and matriculan­ts wonder what the future holds for them. Trade unions and their federation­s are at war, demanding a living wage for their members. But the cold reality is that the fiscus is empty.

These are lean years and not years of plenty. Eskom said recently it is running short of cash to buy the diesel it requires to keep the lights on.

That scenario has ripple effects, and it would be better if trade union bosses had a sober conversati­on with the government to find a workable solution to the benefit of both parties.

In the meantime, we wait in hope that foreign and local investment opportunit­ies will come; that factories will open to absorb a huge pool of unemployed South Africans.

Let’s hope against hope that the governing party’s national elective conference at Nasrec next month will bring light to places of darkness.

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