Here’s cheers to everything better
At midnight tonight, some people will mutter “good riddance” as they put 2019 behind them. It’s been a tough year – for the planet generally, but for South Africa in particular. It’s also the end of a decade which started with such promise.
It’s almost impossible to remember those times when Jacob Zuma and his friends, the Guptas, were only just putting their state capture project into gear … when SA hosted a fantastic Fifa World Cup tournament and when the “Rainbow Nation” illusion still burned brightly.
Corruption, crime and hate seem to take up more headspace these days. Sometimes, it can seem that the only way is down.
But new years – and new decades – are the spring seasons of human endeavour. They can be a chance to start anew, to erase or ignore the past and to look forward.
It must be said, though, that this sort of optimism is currently in short supply, given that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vaunted “new dawn” of clean, efficient government has yet to break over the horizon.
Yet, people should still dream – and hope for the things they would like to see:
Such as the arrests of high-profile figures in the massive looting which has impoverished the country. And, even more important, the trials and convictions – and jail sentences – for the guilty;
Such as a more efficient power supplier, and national airline, privatised if necessary, with job rationalisation in both entities;
Such as a better education system, with more attention to basic teaching and less to grandstanding by the ANC government;
Such as an improved national health system without resort to the ruinous National Health Insurance plan.
Mostly, though, South Africans need to just be better people – less selfish, more accepting. That’s an attainable resolution.