Greed threatens South Africa's freedom

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo shows a two-rand coin above a South Africa flag April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo shows a two-rand coin above a South Africa flag April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

Published Apr 27, 2023


Celebrations of South Africa's National Freedom Day prompt many questions, considering the prevailing socio-economic standing.

While there is consensus that this day marks a significant national milestone, real progress will truly be reflected in the quality of the lives of citizens in their communities.

As the country marked Freedom Day 2023, the 29th year since it embraced democracy, its citizens are torn right in the middle on whether there is something, or anything at all, to celebrate and, therefore, treasure.

In the build-up to this day, on this day, and beyond this day, people from all different parts of the country continued to express themselves on the country’s affairs and its impact on their lives.

While the country’s flag boasts many colours that represent, among other things, wealth and peace, people's lived experiences, add strife and concern to the national symbol.

As South Africans marked this day, children across the KwaZulu-Natal have had to contend with hunger because food was not delivered to their schools.

Their NSFAS-funded counterparts in the country’s universities, universities of technology and TVET colleges have also had to endure pretty much the same due to the scheme's slow and late payments of upkeep allowances.

All this while many SRD grant beneficiaries continue to wait to be paid their R350s.

Some who were approved for most of last year's months were paid for far too few of those months.

Some of the many matriculants who passed earlier this year still languish at home because there were few spaces available in the country’s tertiary sector. They also do not afford the alternative private tertiary option.

With jobs hard to come by, they stay at home, and their hope fades every day as whatever other social grants their household depend on wither as winter begins to set in.

The situation is also compounded by the return of graduates who still struggle to find jobs, those who lost their jobs or their businesses as the country’s economy continues to buckle under the impact of the pandemic, the 2021 riots, inclement weather and now the high-cost living and the hostile higher stages of load shedding.

It is because of such that the country’s homes and, by extension, communities are becoming fertile grounds for greed.

Those with nefarious intentions are now taking advantage of the country’s household situations.

This intensive and selfish desire for survival threatens the country’s aspirations and fellow citizens' ideal livelihoods.

It is because of greed that convicted criminals are able to spend weekends at luxury hotels and later escape maximum security prison in ways that are hard to believe.

As if that was not bad enough, they managed to leave the country illegally.

It is because of greed that relatives murder and mutilate young members of their own families.

It is because of greed that many South African and even children are murdered in cold blood in the now many mass murders that often happen in the country’s underprivileged communities.

As we attempt to approach 30 years of democracy in this country with hopes and efforts intended to make life better for all, greed now threatens it all. It now manifests in homes, workplaces, public institutions and higher echelons of government.

While we celebrate the progress and difference we see as a result of attaining freedom, we should also wage war against the manifesting greed. This war is one that ought to be fought at a personal level.

We personally ought to douse the flames of desperation that fuel this greed. Individuals ought not to use their freedom to feed their greed at the expense of their own countrymen.

Democracy should be used as a tool for universal growth and prosperity. It cannot be used to tear down the country through benefiting certain individuals and groups at the expense of others.

Happy Freedom Day!

To a Greed-Free South Africa!