A very unlikely parable but a real one – American president Joe Biden has just addressed a joint sitting of Congress in which he made an ambitious pitch, redefining the government’s role in the lives of ordinary Americans.
He has unveiled a $1.8 trillion family plan that will see the upliftment of the welfare of lower- to middle-income groups, children and education. This will be funded by a tax hike on the wealthiest individuals and corporate business.
In contrast, here in South Africa we have a president who is appearing before a commission of inquiry into state capture. He is currently appearing in his capacity as president of the governing/majority party, the ANC. There is an urgent need for the government to redefine its role in society. There is a very fine, muddled line between the government and the governing party. We have a crisis in higher education, and a special grant for unemployed people has stopped after one year.
So the opposite of what's happening in America is playing out here.
Politics should be an honourable adventure. Those who stand for public office should stand in the belief that South Africans deserve more than narcotic babble punctuated by demagoguery, slander and corruption.
As the cadre deployment issue came under the spotlight, it became blatantly evident that unprofessional and ill-qualified personnel had been put in key positions. Now “unmasked” , Ramaphosa"s sanitised explanations are palliative.
It seems that many of our politicians suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. This is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with a low ability at a task overestimate their ability. I would deem this a kind of pathological narcissism.
Who can blame one for thinking that with all the recent political badinage, we are the nucleus of a menagerie where barn cats sun with toothless, ageing tigers.
We even have a goat (greatest of all time) in our midst in the relic of former president Jacob Zuma. He has hosted Thieves Tea for the likes of “step aside” candidates Zandile Gumede and Ace Magashule.
Nothing is going to uncrease his soul. For in him is vested the ineluctability of a leaf – no amount of doctoring is going to change the paradigm of the shape of the leaf that nature has so forcefully wrought. He has been ordered to pay the state R16 million in legal fees. His God of Mammon has left him in a manure storm, and to use a colloquial term, the s*** is flying everywhere!
Recently, we have been faced with an avalanche of innuendo and conjecture, some old, some new. Peter Lekota continues his mud-slinging match with Ramaphosa, maintaining he spied on him.
Julius Malema has been fingered as an MI6 operative after his trip to London. And Gadaffi's millions continue to be hoarded by Zuma in his Nkandla bunker. But the icing on the cake must go to Tokyo Sexwale for his revelations about an illusionary Heritage Fund in which millions have been plundered.
With its origins in Asia, the money was supposedly earmarked for education and the poor. Sexwale is a man who believes in verisimilitude, or is he simply a product of an active imagination? He has an unlikely Siamese twin in Fanie Fondse.
The sooner we get our act together, the better! With this accelerating tempest of lies and betrayal, we really are becoming a circus in Africa.
KEVIN GOVENDER Durban