At last, a sign of boldness in the make-up of our minister of finance showed its face last month when he took on the members of Parliament and laid down the law by curtailing their wayward spending that is nothing short of deplorable.
It is a tough achievement because the government, which should have taken action long ago, failed miserably on the issue and, instead of him having to confirm matters by turning off the taps, he had to act as if he were a whistle-blower.
But he does not get 10 out of 10 for his “stand” because he has to add a rider, as always, and try to soften the blow by saying that despite the tough financial position, the ANC will stay in power.
Let us remind the minister and the voters of this country that this government, like many other badly governed countries in the world, enjoys a one-party hold over the country, not unlike the Nats’ 45-year grip that could not be broken by the ballot box and which led to sane thinking whites’ frustration, for they got painted with the brush, like it or not, and are faced today with the embarrassment of having fingers pointed at them.
The entrenchment of draconian laws in those bad days forced everyone to toe that line, whether they liked it or not. There’s a lesson to be learnt from the dark past and that is: sooner or later people will stop putting up with bad government, and this government has been asleep on the job of replacing bad with good. They rightly believed that in the dark past they had been wrongly deprived of things that human beings were entitled to, but that did not give them the right to help themselves to a quick-fix personal financial gain that would be condemned by the masses.
There are excellent people in this country who should be brought in to replace those who are batting for themselves. But to achieve this change is not going to be easy in a country whose electoral process is far removed from being democratic because of its one-party nature.
If South Africa fails at the next elections to make a meaningful change, it would be fair to say the future looks bleak. The finance minister will be right when he says the ANC will get in, he will be wrong in his prognosis for the future financial health of South Africa.