Politics according to Raz
Our constitution is not as great as we are lead to believe. Trust me I’ve read it. Unfortunately the majority of our society is not aware of this and true to form our blind public is compelled to believe that the level of public debate in this country is higher than it actually is. The problem is that our political think tanks (driven by their detachment from the realities of the average South African) believe that there can be some formulaic approach towards resolving the social issues in this country. That giving out tenders to the new black upper middle class will result in job creation. That buying more text books will solve the education crisis.
In actual fact the contrary remains true. The more formulaic and precise our system the quicker the cracks will start to show and eventually political backlash will be our reward prize. Our leaders have not (after twenty years of democracy) come to terms with the intra social socio dynamics that are at play here.
There are just too many cultures, heritages, communities within communities and social divides to make any social development approach viable in this country in the long term. It is for this reason that the idea of doing away with provinces is not and cannot at any point in the future be successfully implemented. It is not only a drawback on service delivery it is an assassination attempt on the very ideals of democracy which we claim to embody.
We seem to be willing to parade the fact that we are a rainbow nation and we have eleven languages yet we do not apply this fundamental consideration when drafting our national policies. You cannot accept the same policy that was applied in a metropolitan hub like Johannesburg to be implemented in a rural place like Inkandla. Yes there must be coloration between national issues and local task work, but in terms on bylaws and implementation a great deal of self-determination is key. Anything else is quite ludicrous to say the very least.
The social and moral forces at work in the different regions are vastly different. Consider this, just as cannibalism might be moral in one country, it might be frowned upon in another and punishable by death in another and so the wheel turns. It was our very diversity that showed the chink in the apartheid armor. They wanted to apply a single holistically oppressive system to every corner of the country. Not realizing that the Sotho’s think differently from the Zulu’s and from the Xhosa’s and so on. That’s why they were surprised when passing a bill that one area would riot and decay into chaos, whilst another remained mum.
Our leadership at the time understood that different cultures rebel in different ways. That diversity means makes it difficult for a government to approach national problems with a simple narrow view. Why then are we not using that same knowledge that brought us to the dance to take us to the ball? It is important to have region orientated governance in order to address development issues at their most basic level. Right across the spectrum.
Can you educate an Indian child in Durban by using a book written by Chinua Achebe over half a century ago? I have nothing against letting our kids expand their intellectual horizons, but if that expansion is going to make them loose focus on the basics then I vote nay. Yes there are universal themes in such a book but the child will not identify with the frameworks under which the writer is writing. The child will reject the book-and the lessons from it. Not because the child is stupid or because they do not want to learn something away from their culture. It’s not because the child is xenophobic and does not want to read a Nigerian author. It’s because we can all learn better under social paradigms in which we can identify. It’s not rocket science its human nature.
I refuse to accept that every child in South Africa regardless of language and dialect can be given Shakespeare and the playing field will be equal. This contention is utter nonsense. There are no monolithic experiences in our society. Hence there can never be any monolithic solutions. You would be hard pressed to find two situations in our country that are exactly alike, they might be characteristically compatible but never the same.
Investing in a system them will ensure tighter regional input in all issues from education to labor is a necessity we need to afford. Coincidently it will cost us significantly less than that misadventure called the world cup. If there is one thing that needs to be changed about our political thinking, it’s the mindset of those we entrust to do the thinking for us.
It would however be irresponsible of me to say that all politicians are bad people. In actual fact I believe that a majority of our politicians have good and sober intentions. If they don’t- what would that say about us? We voted for them after all. The trouble is that a few people who are at the pillars and cornerstones of service delivery and governance have been slow to respond. Perhaps dragging their feet as a result of being tied down by luxury cars and hotel suites. Even democracy has its perks.
I’m tired of people saying that having a fifteen year old illiterate child is the result of the previous regime. A legacy of apartheid, No. we wiped out apartheid more than a decade ago. That means that any child that could not read after year 2000 was not a victim of apartheid but rather, collateral damage in the failing effort of democracy. We seem to be entering a George Bushirian era. Where we are placing a high price on patriotism. As Samuel Johnson said “patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel”. We must not foster our ideas whilst at the same time compromising our progress.
Its often said that you cannot move forward until you know where you’re coming from and adjusted the past. If we are still adjusting the past after almost twenty years I beg to ask the question, why the hell then did we have the TRC? It comes only as common sense to any forward thinking person that socially and economically for the past fifteen years we have been focusing on the wrong things. We have been trying to empower a certain amount blacks instead of ensuring that all South Africans are well looked after. Yes if you are blackand or female you will get that great job, but we will not give you a basic education to even get you to that interview. Tough luck. That’s why BEE or BBBEE has been such a misguided missile, its been aiming at a moving target
Our leadership will tell you all is well from the winners table. That we now have more black millionaires then at any other point in our history. They will however fail to mention will similar frequency that we are statistically the most unequal society in the world. Our income equality stands at a mere 0.679. It’s a hard pill to swallow if you’re a patriot who believes were headed in the right direction.
The top tier is keen to assume that people in our townships are rioting over simply housing and services. That by turning the man throwing the rocks in the front-page of the paper to the man with the keys to his house on the seven o’clock news it all amounts to something. This is an illusion. These are not just service delivery strikes but social disgruntlement protests. The issues are significantly deeper than housing and employment. People are tired of being treated like ants who’s situation is not unique. Until that fundamental problem is addressed we will never have a South Africa that is intent on achieving the similar goals.