File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
In the proliferation of the government, Aristotle alluded to three forms of rule, those being monarchy, aristocracy and polity, the latter being a kind of enlightened democracy.

What differences there were among these forms of the government then lay basically in the main, whether ultimate power was held by one, a few or by many.

Aristotle said each form of the government had the potential to concern itself with personal gain, profit and pleasure, allowing each form of the government to become perverted into tyrannical rule, oligarchy and mob rule.

Today, one of the main aims of the government is to remain in power by whichever means, that being either through the barrel of a gun, sheer force of numbers and by manipulation and total abuse of power through malfeasance, nepotism and corruption.

Fast-forward to the current situation in South Africa, where despite a well-grounded and constructed Constitution, the three tiers of the government - national, provincial and municipal - are in disorder and disarray.

What is needed is a paradigm shift, and while this concept was first attributed to US physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn in 1960, applicable then to the discipline of science only, it is now referred to in numerous non-scientific contexts to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events.

The paradigm shift with regard to the National Assembly would be that officials should be elected on the basis of constituency representation rather than proportional representation, allowing for accountability - sadly lacking in the proportional representation we have at present.

With regard to provincial, and more so with municipal representation, such officials should not be at the behest of and appointed by the majority party in the National Assembly where nepotism and favours to Struggle heroes abound in regard to appointments.

As such, officials are often appointed who are out of their depth and incapable and incompetent to do the job at hand.

To have good, clean, competent administration at provincial and municipal level, those aspiring to be appointed should sit a well-constructed exam and only the best, irrespective of party affiliation, race creed or sex, be appointed.

This model is adopted in some Asian countries. It works well to the satisfaction of all.

No inappropriate affirmative action, the right appointees for the job at hand, good service delivery, mutual satisfaction by all.

Not one political party trying to outdo the other.

Stan Sandler

Claremont