I’m constantly finding myself dumbstruck by the South African public. I find it fascinating (in the same way as an exploding volcano) to watch what we as a country get incensed about, what we find worthy of our attention as a group of people.
We’ve recently had two large upwellings of public protest about two very different issues: The whole Zuma Spear controversy and the toll roads in Jo’Burg. I’ve already put in my two cents about both those issues so I won’t go into them again. What I interested in is that the people of South Africa obviously feel that these are the most important matters facing our country at the moment.
Seriously? Paying tolls (which happens EVERYWHERE else in the world) and a picture that is in (arguably) bad taste? That is what you think is important? Regardless of what you think of either of those issues, surely we have bigger fish to fry? Don’t we have a couple blue whales sitting in the background?
Apart from nebulous concepts like crime, corruption and education there are some very serious, very specific problems that I would think take precedence over anything as trivial as what we get worked up about. For instance:
The DA recently had a match to COSATU’s head office that ended in violence when COSATU supporters clashed with the DA. We should be screaming our heads off about this! The right to protest is one of the basic freedoms that the ANC (and COSATU) fought for and it must work both ways… it’s not just the ANC and its partners that can protest.
Bheki Cele is still a member of our government. After every complaint, report and investigation, this man is still collecting a paycheck out of our pockets. The fact that he still has any form of authority is due a failure of us as a people to call for his head. You think he would still be there if we cried about that as much as we do about tolls?
The death toll on our roads is sitting at about 14000 people a year. 14000 people! We had 900 people killed in December last year. It beggars belief. Sure this is due to number of factors, but it could be significantly reduced by enforcing drinking laws and holding Taxi associations accountable for the maintenance of their vehicles.
All of these problems have solutions; they’re not nebulous policy decisions that are open to debate. All that is needed is the political will to make it happen, but that will never materialize until the South African public hold their elected officials accountable for what they do. We need to make a noise about what really matters to us… not about a stupid little painting.
P.S. I really do love this country… I think it’s the best place to be in the world, and I’ll have something more positive next time 🙂
“Too many leaders act as if the sheep… their people… are there for the benefit of the shepherd, not that the shepherd has responsibility for the sheep.” –Ken Blanchard