Reader Blog
Reader Blog

SA, a place I call home

By Anthony Lekhuwana

I have nothing against the ANC. It is the party I voted for in past elections, with the hope that they would make South Africa a better place for everyone to live in. A place everyone can be proud of to call home. But some things concern me about the way they go about doing their business. They tend to deviate from the business we elected them to do. I’m a South African born man who has never left the borders of this great country (and has no intentions of ever leaving, except maybe for a holiday if I can afford one) I also have no intentions of ever leaving the country, or to migrate to another country. I love my country and intend to stay and fight for this country and to make it a better place for the next generations.

I have started to develop doubts about the captains we elected to steer this country in the right direction. I think they are messing up. How does one explain the prevailing high unemployment, crime rates, the failing education system and poor Grade 12 pass rates among other ills of this country?

As a resident of the township, I’m flabbergasted by the SAPS, which prioritises arresting people that are enjoying alcoholic beverages more than focusing on hard-core criminals who might be raping our sister, murdering our brothers for their possessions and blowing up ATMs. They are denying law-abiding citizens time to relax with a beer after a week of hard work in the office. The police holding cells on weekends are full of people whose only crime was to have a drink while chatting to a neighbour on the opposite street. When someone is in real need of the police, you’ll be told they have no vehicles to attend to you right away, so you just have to take a number and wait in the queue.

South Africa is faced with many challenges like unemployment, which has a direct link to the sickening crime rate in this country.
But it appears that crime gets rewarded in South Africa and criminals (with the right kind of connections) get all the protection they need.

Examples are galore, think of the real reason behind the demise of the Scorpions and the decision to stop the investigation into the arms deal probes.

Somewhere there’s a link and the government doesn’t seem to care what we think of it. They are so arrogant and assured of our continued support in the ballots. They don’t mind pissing on our backs and then have the audacity to tell us it’s not piss, but rain.
Most incidents relating to fraud (I’m talking about white collar crime) are committed by the same people we put in power. When they get caught, they somehow manage to escape punishment. I guess doing time is only meant for the poorest of the poor. How does anyone become a director of six companies while South Africa is facing such huge unemployment numbers. We have graduates sitting without a job and for some people to have so many positions just doesn’t make sense.

How much longer are we going to tolerate this? Are we really that ignorant to accept that all they do is in our best interest, even though it’s clear that most of them are there for self-enrichment. Most of the so-called “black diamonds” have direct connections or relations to someone who happens to be in government, or someone who’s related to a struggle veteran. What about the average Themba on the street? Does he not fall under the previous disadvantaged group. Is it a question of him not being black enough? What does one have to do to be recognised as one of those who fall in the group of those that need to be empowered. The sad thing in Themba’s case is, he used to be categorised under the previous disadvantaged group in the new South Africa after 1994, and he still finds himself under the current disadvantaged group after 16 years of liberation.

When it becomes clear that people are getting fed up by all this nonsense of corruption, non-delivery and false promises, they do a cabinet reshuffle to buy time and appear to be doing something. The reshuffle only serves as a vehicle to give other comrades a chance to get their hands on the public coffers. Not to mention the business deals and tenders that it will offer to the people connected to these individuals in the guise of BBBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment). In most cases BEE is a smokescreen and it does not empower the people it was meant to empower, but the politically connected. I’m afraid that at the pace we going, we might end up with a Zimbabwean situation.

Every generation has a revolution, maybe it’s upon us, the youth of today to take up the torch and light the way to a better future.

I appeal to our young brothers and sisters out there to stand up and be counted upon. Who will be our next heroes to fight for our economical liberation?

Whose name is going to be immortalised alongside the true heroes of the political liberation like Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Elias Motsoaledi, Elmon Malele and many others. We don’t need the wealth of this country to stay in the hands of the select few. Every South African who is willing to work hard should get a fair chance to create some wealth for himself.

As much as apartheid’s legacies still exist today, we cannot keep blaming it for all our problems. Even the ones we started having after liberation. We face current problems like economical empowerment for all South Africans and achieving pay parity according to gender and ethnicity.

According to the following article, a survey found that the average white male earned R25 093 and his black counterpart R13 684, which is kak if you ask me. The problem I have with the difference in earnings is that it creates a bad perception.

Look at this scenario:

We have two guys, one black (Sipho) and the other white (Jack). They work for the same company, do the same job and have almost similar qualifications and skills, with the only difference being their earnings. Jack stays in the suburbs in Sandton and Sipho still stays in the backroom of his mother’s RDP house in Tembisa because he cannot afford the things Jack can.

What perception will it invoke in Jack when he sees the situation in which Sipho lives? He will think Sipho is careless and irresponsible with his earnings. It perpetuates the image and stereotype of a black man not being able to use his brains. Why can’t we all be equal in this day and age? And what is the government doing about this?

A political party must be elected based on its achievements and deliveries and not just because it liberated us. Keep in mind that as much as the ANC has positioned itself as the only champion of our liberation, it is not the only political party that brought us our freedom. Other parties like the PAC, Azapo, civil organizations, normal people on the streets and the true heroes that sacrificed their lives all played an important part too. So, no one person or political party should claim credit for the liberation of the people of South Africa. It should be a collective credit. Yes, you and you, and you played a part in it.

I mean really, when are we going to wake up and hold some people accountable. We don’t need a small group of individuals that are empowered through their political connections to justify enriching themselves through BBBEE. Every time they mention BEE, it’s the same old faces that appear.

I wonder how many people still see the ANC as the champions of the poor and the guardians of our Constitution, and for how long?

Maybe people should stop voting for people out of loyalty for our liberation. We should vote for a party that will really be for the people, and not just the few politically connected individuals. Unfortunately there is still no viable political party that can be the alternative to the ANC. A party that can be the true representative of the people’s needs.

For a moment there seemed to be hope on the horizon with the birth of Cope, but Cope has revealed itself for what it really is.
Cope is about people who lost power and who will do anything to get some of that power back, at all cost. If this was not true, I suppose the mature gentlemen, who are supposed to lead the movement, would be able to put their differences aside for the sake of a greater cause that’s bigger than themselves. Mr Thabo Mbeki did himself a big favour by distancing himself from Cope, this ship would have gone down with him, as it appears it’s on its way to self-destruct. President Zuma did warn them that it would be cold and lonely out of the ANC, and they didn’t listen.

There might still be hope for Cope, but the wise men of Cope need to take a leadership stance, do the honourable thing and step down in order for new leaders to take up these positions. The current leaders of Cope have too much baggage which they inherited from the ANC. It’s quite difficult to view them as leaders who can bring about serious change to the lives of many in this country. The DA, well, that’s a topic for another day. Their failure to appeal to the normal black man on the street is going to be a problem for them for many years to come.

If there is one common goal all South Africans should strive for, it is to avoid South Africa becoming a dominant one-party state (that’s if it’s not too late already). Keep in mind that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If anyone out there knows of any good party that I and millions of others out there who want to make a difference can vote for come next election, let me know. I want to make a difference. What about you?

Will the real South Africans please stand up and make South Africa a place where all will feel proud to call home.