The road to democracy did not begin when Nelson Mandela stepped out of Victor Verster in February 1990, regardless of what our revisionist historians would have you believe.
Our road to democracy was fraught with the sight of black bodies laying lifeless on the streets, with the image of old Boere men clad in police uniform, a baton in one hand and a machine gun in another. Our road to democracy has the blood of Hector Pieterson, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, and countless others on its gravel.
But indeed, we arrived at our destination. We got to the Promised Land. The elite called it a “non-racial, non-sexist South Africa”, Archbishop Desmond Tutu simply called it the “Rainbow Nation”, the rest of us called it freedom.
But twenty-two years after the fact, our hard-earned democracy is under threat, by our very liberators.
The entire ANC, once deemed the final hope of our country, has become a corporation of greed, corruption and tribalism. And at the helm? There’s our Number One, the President of the Republic of South Africa- Jacob Zuma.
Nkandlagate has been discussed critically by those who possess much more political clout than this writer. Yet, it does pose a question- how does this particular individual, who knows every inch of the ANC, claim ignorance on certain national processes?
From his association with Schabir Shaik to his more recent affiliations with the Gupta family, it is apparent that personal motivations seem to trump national policy.
Nepotism, overt corruption, and less-overt plots and schemes are the new manifesto of this business. This cancer isn’t only one for the top brass, though. It has permeated throughout the whole of the ANC, and as a result, the ANC has become toxic to the country. However, this problem is bigger than just Jacob Zuma, although he is the public face of it.
Entitlement has become the default position for most of our ex-freedom fighters. These revolutionaries fought for our freedom, and now feel as if this feat (which, of course, is an honourable fight to have fought) entitles them to unlimited access to the taxpayers’ money. Are they right? Do they have a point?
Regardless of which stance the reader may take, the country is falling to pieces as a result. Because as the Guptas play human chess with the Cabinet, the economy is taking a down turn. Junk status is on the horizon.
And if that comes to pass, the higher-ups won’t suffer. Not while there is a country of millions dutifully paying their taxes.
So, who will suffer? That’s right. Us, the people. The people who unknowingly fed the fire by giving our valuable votes to this corporation which sees us as the pawns that keep the cogs of the money machine spinning.
So what do we do when we live on UIF and social grants and are saddled with student debts and can’t find employment, while the upper brass build mansions and buy luxury cars and deposit money into Swiss offshore accounts and always seem to have a story of an unknown family member who miraculously became a successful mining magnate/board member/media investor?
The late Nelson Mandela had a quote that gives us a few ideas: