Trucks gutted by fire at Sequence Logistics cold storage facility in Hammarsdale on Mandela Day. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)
Trucks gutted by fire at Sequence Logistics cold storage facility in Hammarsdale on Mandela Day. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Eliminating poverty and inequality will ’make looters few’

By Opinion Time of article published Jul 20, 2021

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Oupa Ngwenya

An unchanging system keeps galloping regardless of the wishes for a better life ordinary people were promised. And those at the receiving end seem to increasingly find the government an unfit horse to reach the land of milk and honey.

Not in their lifetime or even that of their children does the promised land appear to be in the offing. In the process, the toiling masses who are unable to make ends meet see public representatives and associates becoming microwave (instant) millionaires without gambling or evidence of work.

This sees holders of unearned riches zooming into opulent comfort while the poor are counselled that patience is a virtue, as neither Rome was built in a day nor is their plight possible to liquidate overnight.

On the other hand, law and order holds no promise to deliver the hungry from poverty for best behaviour. To be fair to the country’s justice system, it is not law and order’s business to make life liveable, bearable and worthwhile for the struggling majority. A better life for all is not covered in the bold and fine print of insurance either.

Most businesses will bounce back owing to insurance. Prospects for the poor doing likewise are slim to zero. It is frankly not customary of business to contemplate how the poor buy the goods and services to live decently, with dignity and humanly.

If poverty makes nonsense of the poor, whose business is it, then, to ensure that cover for the eradication of poverty does not translate into killing the poor to end poverty?

That being the question, the vulnerable are sitting like ducks for the taking by any prey.

The gullible are swept off their feet to lose their sanity in the whirlwind of this insanity, they desperately seize the moment riding the crest of anger – fired by their own pent-up emotions.

Not to be outdone, tricksters and thugs enter the fray to fan their share of confusion for profiteering purposes. None seem to buy the idea that by eliminating poverty, those deemed looters will be fewer, and that ending inequality has the benefit of rendering separation among people redundant.

Of note is that a poverty-stricken society can only be stable through cyclical high-handed measures. Consequently, hunger, filth, crime and death prowl the streets. Manipulation engages to top gear. Regret sets in. Power reclaims chaotic streets for stability. Hopelessness returns. Stolen goods are fearfully abandoned. All these things converge with each explosive moment to become a theatre prominently depicting that black lives increasingly do not matter.

The recurring losses of black lives stamp the reality of serial sacrificial lambs that blacks have become in the scramble for the uncaring, unkind and cut-throat game of power susceptible to the following: (a) use and abuse and/or misuse; (b) befriend and betray good causes of the people; (c) promise and regret voting citizens, making periodic elections an elusive sun of countless new dawns.

Caught in this pantomime drama, few journalists keep a professional but empathetic distance to reflect on the unfolding picture to tell a story of how dreams are made and shattered. Even fewer exercise due care not to allow themselves to surrender their prized independence to be on board the courtesy biases of the spinning roller-coaster of official directives of the events they cover.

And without reflection, society is not helped to decipher how humanity, compassion and empathy keep losing the day in a world gone too mad to care.

Journalists so deeply embedded look neither backwards to reflect, nor forward to project how society could break loose from the morass imprisoning it. They can’t imagine what the future may hold depending on the action or inaction of unmindful global power networks that play with the will of the people through financialisation of the kind of democracy that money can buy and sell as deemed fit.

Hidden in the democracy that is responsive to the jingle of money is a mother of all captures that commission after commission will keep searching for without redeeming findings.

Resigned from being vigilant watchdogs of all else moving under the sun, including the media fraternity itself, most journalists see no further than shoes on the ground on which they are embedded to follow power to the clamour for its loving arms.

In the loving embrace of politicians, these kinds of journalists are denying themselves deserved fresh air and thus depriving the profession of the ability to be in the sunlight of truth.

Were journalists to behave professionally, they would be able to show leaders of society how a better life could truly be realised if they led as their followers wished. Most depressing is that the line between thieves and dishonourable politicians – and the unelected money power that buys and sells the democracy it desires – is difficult to draw for distinct clarity to manifest.

It's simple: eliminating poverty and inequality will make those deemed looters very few.

* Ngwenya is a corporate strategist, writer and freelance journalist.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.

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