IN TOUCH| Time to stop, before democracy derailed

There is a strategic document that was penned by the ANC in May of 1992 which was called ‘Ready to Govern. ANC policy guidelines for a democratic South Africa, May 1992.’

This was a response to the unbanning of all political parties and a start of negotiations which would later lead to elections and the subsequent rule of the ANC.

With hindsight would you say the ANC was ready to govern? Are they doing a good job of it today? Were they ready then and are they now maintaining that momentum or are we watching a train slowly reaching the end of the line and about to derail? Is it possible that we, the passengers on this train, are helplessly watching the impending derailment? Is there anything we can do to avoid the derailment? What can we actually do to make sure that it doesn’t happen or it doesn’t derail with us still on board? Are we helpless? How did we get here?

Thabo Mbeki once gave a speech after the death of artist David Koloane who made a series of paintings which he named ‘Imigodoyi’. He said: “There would be people who would want to exploit the conditions of our people and behave as Umgodoyi behaves. It would be very very important that we should be vigilant so that we don’t have Imigodoyi taking charge of our lives”. Could it be that this has already happened and we are now facing doom? Can you honestly say that those in charge of our lives, from the ward councillor to the mayor to the provincial government and up to the president…that those occupying those positions are the best we have?

If you look at the sporting front, I know South Africans are mad about their sport and it is central to their lives – can we say that the best and the brightest are in charge there? Have we found ourselves under the grip of Imigodoyi, taking charge of our lives? Unfortunately, the latest events lead one to reach the unfortunate conclusion that possibly Imigodoyi are already in the house and in charge of our lives.

The Zondo Commission, with all its flaws and limitations, has revealed the absurd levels of incompetence, greed and outright callousness of those in charge of our lives. Today we have dodgy people exploiting the dire economic conditions of our young people to further their own political ends. We now have people implicated in serious corruption suddenly springing up and organising rallies and marches and pretending to care for the plight of the unemployed and the marginalised. Where was this consciousness when they had the levers of power and had a real chance to better the lives of those they claim to care for today?

We now have dodgy people acting like trade unions, exploiting the vulnerability of people to demonstrate a show of force on the streets to shore up their shaky positions – a futile exercise if you ask me. I think there is no better time than now to tell these charlatans where to get off. Enough is enough, we cannot allow people to manipulate the masses for their own benefit. While we may not do it on social media like some have begun to do, we must start having these conversations now or face real doom soon. The local government election is that opportunity – we dare not miss it. It is time.

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