Lorenzo A Davids writes that the achievements of the first 15 years of our democracy have all but evaporated in multiple whiffs of corruption scandals as well as an incompetency. Photo: Phill Magakoe
Lorenzo A Davids writes that the achievements of the first 15 years of our democracy have all but evaporated in multiple whiffs of corruption scandals as well as an incompetency. Photo: Phill Magakoe

#AnotherVoice: Politicians in race to the bottom to get hands on loot

By Opinion Time of article published May 11, 2021

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by Lorenzo A Davids

The nauseating sense of the unravelling of our political, social and economic wellbeing is all around us.

The achievements of the first 15 years of our democracy have all but evaporated in multiple whiffs of corruption scandals as well as an incompetency to meet the basic expectations of an exasperated population.

From brazen acts of corruption committed by public officials and the leadership implosion of the ANC, through to the arrival of the deadly Indian strain of the Covid-19 virus in South Africa, on to the DA leaders’ qualifications disputes and – far more important than all of the above – the collapse of the sense of social and economic survival in South Africa, most citizens have a sense of resignation to the fact that things are all falling apart at a rapid rate.

The first 10 years of democracy provided us with relative confidence that we were on course to stun the world with our brilliance and resilience.

But over the past 17 years, we have laboured under the lunacy of a government leadership that believed we could not see the internecine battles ravaging the ruling party – and the country.

It became fertile ground for the “apartheid was better” saboteurs to emerge from their slumbering incarceration, their keyboards attacking every gaping hole in the South African democratic firmament.

They have provided fuel to the emaciated opposition movements and splinter groups to largely redefine what democracy should look like.

Far-right political concepts, dressed up in new terms, once again found fertile ground in South Africa, despite the suffering it inflicted on people prior to 1994.

The most worrying development over the past 17 years is that South Africa’s major political parties all seem to be captured by this far-right shift towards a single nationalism again, despite its documented historical damage.

This is best represented by the total dominance of particular cultures and race expressions in how parties choose their leading agents. We no longer have the multi-cultural and rich tapestry of inclusivity of all groups and cultures in our political leadership.

The class of 1994 is a distant memory. Gone are the political philosophies that stood for individual human rights, civil liberties and free enterprise.

It has all been undone by a greed for power, money and – more money.

Our opposition politicians arrived with bucket loads of foolishness, catering to the thinnest margin of minority interest.

In 1994 we had 19 political parties contesting the elections. This year we will have some 48 parties contesting the upcoming elections.

This is what happens when you subvert government’s human rights, civil liberties and free enterprise mandate and turn it into a personal enrichment scheme. Every group starts their own political party to hopefully get a slice of that loot.

We are now stuck with a political culture of co-option and compliance and not one of deep political intelligence. You now join a party, shut up, close your mind to obvious unintelligible foolishness and nod your head in agreement to utterances on SAA, smart cities, colonialism and myopic racism paraded to the electorate as intelligent progress.

All this while we have not solved the school toilet or the affordable housing crisis in both rural and urban South Africa.

My mother is 91 years old. She is both blind and deaf. I weep for her because she had dreamt of a better country. She started out working as a domestic worker at the age of 15 for a family in Sea Point. She ended her working life in an Elsies River factory.

She, like thousands of other mothers and grandmothers deserve a better democracy. In a perverse way I am at peace that she cannot see or hear the sad chaos of our walls collapsing.

We need brave leaders who will fearlessly talk about intolerable corruption, the lack of classrooms, the damage caused by colonialism, the demands of our Constitution and the rich value of our diverse cultures.

* Lorenzo A Davids.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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