Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former president Nelson Mandela. Picture: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former president Nelson Mandela. Picture: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Never a dull moment in SA

By Dennis Pather Time of article published Jun 23, 2019

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There are only two things certain in life, according to Benjamin Franklin - death and taxes.

I’d like, with your kind permission, to add a third and it applies specifically to us South Africans - it’s our political restlessness.

Or should I call it political recklessness?

Maybe it’s part of our national DNA but South Africans love living on the edge.

Take away our divisive conspiracies, devious plots and the noisy rhetoric that consumes our political discourse and we’re as lost as a nun on a honeymoon.

From the moment our leaders and public representatives get up each morning, they’re busy indulging in their favourite pastime - tweeting nasty idiocies to people who dare to hold opposing views.

When done with that, they’re issuing libellous and racially abusive statements to earn cheap headlines; chasing away international investors by questioning the mandate of the Reserve Bank; and frustrating President Cyril Ramaphosa’s attempts to enunciate a new vision for the country.

If it’s not Aunty Helen cosying up to colonialism, it’s the EFF’s Julius Malema flinging mud at former finance minister Trevor Manuel; Public Protector Busisiwe Mkwebane pulling the carpet from under Pravin Gordhan’s feet; Zindzi Mandela posting outlandish tweets on the land issue; or Adam Catzavelos dreaming of a white Christmas on a Greek island.

And not to be left out of the action are our honourable Members of Parliament in the EFF and ANC who slugged it out in the front benches at a House of Assembly induction ceremony last week.

Never a dull moment indeed!

The reassuring news however is that South Africans have no need to despair.

Latest research conducted by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) tells us that once you ignore the rabble-rousing loudmouths and tinpot publicity-seekers, the majority of South Africans - of all shades of colour and political persuasion - are in fact quite a positive and well-adjusted lot.

They are much more pragmatic and optimistic about our current state of affairs and want to work together to build a stable and prosperous society for all citizens.

Marius Roodt, head of campaigns at the IRR, says against all the noise emanating from our political platforms, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re on the brink of an imminent race war.

You may also be tempted to assume that issues like combating racism, accelerating affirmative action and resolving the land issue are major priorities for most South Africans.

No, says Roodt. In fact, only 1 to 2% of the IRR respondents raised these issues.

What matters more to them are issues like the pressing need to create jobs, the urgency of fighting rampant corruption and the crucial importance of improving our education system.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of South Africans, the survey reveals, believe people of different races need one another if we are to progress into the future.

Now that sounds more like the truth to me than what our loudmouth politicians are spewing out.

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