Durban — The unity and love which have followed the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup win, and subsequent victory parades around the country, are no less than the team deserves.
Three times were their supporters' nerves stretched to breaking point, and each win was all the sweeter for the tension which came before.
As Handre Pollard's face testified in the final, the Boks literally bled and sweated their way to the trophy, only for the grubby politicians to step in and make capital of their efforts, whipping up the masses into a fervour of flag-waving patriotism.
But what happens when the Bok bus rides out of town, the euphoria wears off and the patriots return home? Will anything have changed?
In his eagerly awaited speech, President Cyril Ramaphosa was quick to punt the government’s successes, including the percentage of households in formal dwellings increasing from 78% in 2011 to 89% in 2022. There were also improvements in electricity supply, the construction of roads, bridges and dams, crime syndicates were being shut down and the proceeds of state capture were being recovered.
Further down, in the fine print, it emerges that out of the hundreds of state capture and corruption cases, just 34 have been taken to court in the last four years, and R5.4billion recovered. This is a drop in the ocean of corruption which pervades the civil service.
And while electricity supply has stabilised, the government is preparing to write off R57bn in municipal debt to Eskom, with no word on consequences for the mismanagement leading to the debt.
The corruption and leadership failures at all of South Africa’s state-owned entities are legend, as is the lack of accountability.
This is the legacy the Boks should leave: a lesson in management. There was no room for sentiment or loyalty; only performance.
Non-performing players were given a little space to prove themselves, failing which they were promptly replaced. Does anyone believe we would be world champions without this attitude?
Why can’t we have more of the same in government?
Independent on Saturday