Opinion / 24 November 2019, 2:43pm / Dennis Pather
How many EFF leaders does it take to change a light bulb?
Your guess is as good as mine because despite the many bright sparks in its ranks, the party is still largely in the dark about many crucial issues facing South Africans.
The latest evidence of this was its knee-jerk reaction to the appointment of a white man, Andre de Ruyter, as the new CEO of the beleaguered power entity, Eskom.
The ink on De Ruyter’s new contract had hardly dried before the red berets were dismissing his appointment as anti-transformational and racist.
I’m not rooting for De Ruyter, and know little about the guy apart from what I see on his CV.
But the dye has been cast, and whether anyone likes it or not, De Ruyter is saddled with the most unenviable job in the country - keeping our lights on and ensuring that our electricity costs are affordable.
So, let’s live with it and hope he succeeds in turning the ship around, for your sake and mine.
Someone else who’s familiar with the hazards of salvaging fast-sinking ships is Shamila Batohi, whose appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) in February raised high expectations.
With her professional approach and international experience, hopes were high that prosecutions would be accelerated and many crooked politicians, business people and government officials would soon be swopping their pinstriped suits for orange overalls.
Well, it’s now nine months later and she’s come to realise the problems of the NPA cannot be fixed in a jiffy.
Some analysts say it will take at least another year or so before she can sort out many internal challenges, including a purge of incompetents and deadwood in the NPA, a serious lack of funding, and the need to appoint and train competent prosecutors to secure watertight convictions in court.
There’s a theory that many of our problems with SOEs and institutions in the criminal justice system result from the inordinate amount of power vested in the hands of one person - the country’s president.
The drafters of our Constitution in the early 1990s had so much faith in the first president, Nelson Mandela, that when disputes arose over the apportioning of power, the negotiators had Madiba as their sole point of focus.
He could do no wrong.
Our troubles started when he stepped down after a term and was succeeded by others, not perhaps imbued with the same moral stature and unimpeachable qualities.
And so began what’s now referred to as the 10 wasted years of Jacob Zuma, who used his vast powers to hijack key institutions of government and install his lackeys to do his bidding.
This is the mess that people like Batohi have inherited and are now trying to unravel.
My advice to her is: the people understand the magnitude and complexity of your task, but want to see some early wins as proof that the tide is indeed turning.
Give us hope, Shamila. Our patience is not infinite.