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The Collapse of South Africa – The Zondo Chronicles

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The Collapse of South Africa – The Zondo Chronicles

Don’t hold your breath for prosecutions emanating from the Zondo Commission, and certainly not from that little matter of millions of dollars under Cyril’s mattress, in contravention of forex rules. You’ll just turn blue and pass out.

South Africa is, frankly, a failed state just 28 years after the dawn of democracy. It’s like we have some desire to be overachievers because it took other, far more established, civilisations about 200 years to collapse under the weight of ineptitude. Hark back to the glory days of the Romans, the Egyptians, and even the English – they all collapsed when infighting and plunder took hold. But it took two centuries for the rot to fully set in.

It has taken a measly three decades, not even, for South Africa to fall victim to politicians and businessmen (and women, no doubt) who have cannibalised this wonderful country for their own greed. Backhanders – brown envelopes passed under the table in spy thrillers – are just another cost of doing business. And we dare to mock countries north of our borders for the same practices. We aren’t any better.

The justice system is a wreck – people are hardly ever brought to book for their crimes. Our road infrastructure is so full of holes it’s a metaphor for a government that has made woefully inadequately cadre deployments to key positions, resulting in the government being like a turnstile: one minute a minister is in, the next they are out.

And they hardly hold the right qualifications for such lofty positions in the first place.

Take, for example, our esteemed minister of defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who has no fighting skills. Nope. She’s a qualified primary school teacher with some or other project management certification from Canada. Well, that’s helpful when it comes to deploying the army, as should have been done when Eskom workers went on a wildcat strike, plunging the country – and the economy – deeper into darkness.

Quite what army she would have sent out is questionable though. Cuts to its budget over years and years mean that it’s in a state of critical decline. Read more here for an in-depth analysis of our so-called military.

It’s a pandemic

The Zondo Commission laid bare just how badly the coffers have been raided over years by politicians and companies alike, read about its findings all over the internet. This isn’t news though, not for anyone who actually reads our better-quality newspapers. Unless they have been lurking on Mars.

According to an article in the @DailyMaverick, the ANC has stolen at least R49 billion in greedy pursuit of wealth, which has come at the cost of those who voted them in. At least another R50 billion has been lost to the riots that brought production to its knees in KwaZulu-Natal last year. 150,000 jobs were lost.

Why were there riots? A corrupt former president was arrested. Maybe the pressure worked; he was let out on medical parole due to some mythical condition, let out while thousands of other inmates sit dying in prison without proper health care.

Counting the cost

Who suffers? Not you and I. We can simply fly away on a jet plane, taking our much-needed skills with us. Skills that could be used to build this country, create jobs, and make South Africa the utopia it could be.

Instead, those without homes, who bed by the side of the road and sleep under cardboard boxes bear the brunt of this maladministration. These people live without hope, trying to earn some sort of living from standing by traffic lights and hawking whatever they can. Or they have very humorous signs (Cat locked up for stealing milk, need bail) asking for something, anything.

Unemployment is at 34.5%, and that’s just the “official” number, not counting those citizens of what should be a beautiful country who have simply given up looking for jobs, taking to the streets either to sell handbags or beg. That rate is at 45.5% – almost half of those who should be earning money. It’s even worse for school leavers; our future leaders.

Let that sink in.

Personally, if I was this poor, I might resort to stealing to survive. There is, however, a difference between feeding a basic human need and robbing the country blind to the detriment of all.

As Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president Nelson Mandela said: “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

Yes, well.

We need to stand symbolically hand-in-hand, not in real life as we don’t want to irk the Covid police, saying no to corruption. In just two years from now, we have a chance to make a difference, to vote out the bad apples and install those who will stand up for what is morally and ethically right. Good leaders and those who believe in our future should stand up and say ‘count on me, vote me in’.

Enough of this nonsense.

The current state of our nation, regardless of Cyril’s flowery words each February, is a crime, and those responsible should be brought to book. Sadly, despite all we know about who stole how much, we aren’t likely to see any real repercussions, even though some companies have made token repayments of their ill-gotten gains.

Cry, the beloved country.