I refer to the report by Ethel Hazelhurst, (“Public service not accountable”, March 13), in which Terence Nombembe revealed that as much as 74 percent of entities received poor audit results because they failed to comply with the basic laws applicable to the running of their administration.
And this is despite the government’s repeated commitments to address service delivery issues. Allow me to turn to basic Chinese philosophy, which our government should heed, considering its closeness to China through Brics.
I refer to the Chinese Warring State period, circa 544-494 BC, during which China descended into chaos and bloodshed as each state vied for dominance.
Out of the ashes arose the resurrection of Taoism, which argues that, if the best form of action is inaction, then similarly the greatest victory would lie in never fighting.
These, of course, are paradoxes but not meaningless paradoxes – rather a practical application of philosophical and spiritual principles.
Can this be taken out of the military context and be applicable to everyday living? I say, yes. To illustrate my point, think of the teacher who endeavours to maintain discipline in the classroom.
This may be achieved by the teacher in one of two ways: either by constantly administering punishment and reprimands, or by attempting to create an environment and culture of tranquillity where constant punitive action and reprimands are unnecessary as pupils are not tempted to misbehave. Obviously, the latter route is the desirable one.
Returning to military strategy, the greatest military strategist would be the one who sets out to achieve his objectives with the least expenditure of energy, time and resources, through peaceful means.
Of course this, of necessity, would assume that the military strategist (the teacher) is a rational person, well educated, appreciating the benefits of peace and rightly appointed.
The societies in which we live in South Africa, through the buddy system of appointees and inappropriate affirmative action, have created a culture lacking in morals, ethics and discipline. Despite the police and laws, each one decides what is right, what best suits him or her at the time. Self discipline is gradually destroyed and despite police and laws, we are left to behave in ways in accordance with one’s own conscience.
Re-electing Jacob Zuma president of the ANC makes him the president of South Africa for the next seven years.
If one studies the composition of the top six in the national executive committee of the ANC and the top 80, the majority are present and past miscreants.
They are the role models for the people who vote for the ANC. If they can get away with it, so can we, they say.
As long as this country has as its leader a man like Jacob Zuma with his buddy system of appointees which will continue, and inappropriate affirmative action, we will become a failed state.
The culture has been set. No amount of police nor laws will change the status quo. Only by setting a culture of clean administration and with appropriate appointees at all levels, can things improve. Until then, service delivery will continue to be chaotic. And so will education.