The season of goodwill is almost upon us. Not that you’d know it. In scenes reminiscent of the mid nineteen eighties the townships are ablaze and the evening news bulletins show burning tyres , burning lorries, trashed buildings and a lot of chanting people waving sticks and sharp objects. This time though they are not demonstrating against an illegal regime. The dance moves may be the same and the video footage virtually indistinguishable from the eighties but this time they are protesting against a lack of service delivery. President Zuma was seen on TV addressing lots of chubby people last week who turn out be municipal officials. He warned that the government will not tolerate the burning down of buildings and the anarchic behaviour exhibited by the demonstrators. Obviously they’ll listen to him and start behaving well from now on. Fat chance. What the Pres should have said is that delivery of things like decent housing, running water, heath care, electricity and transport all take time and Rome wasn’t built in a day. And there are other priorities too. Before the ANC can even think of delivering on its election promises of uplifting the people they have to make sure they are properly equipped to do so.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the brochures for BMW’s and Merc’s lately but they are weighty tomes and need to be studied carefully. Then there are all the optional extras to consider. Since the taxpayer is footing the bill it would be simple to just to say “I’ll have the lot thanks” but that would be insensitive to people who have their faces gnawed by large pregnant rats at night. So our comrade leaders like to choose carefully between the 27 speaker designer sound system and the Sat-nav for a mere R20000 extra. Unfortunately informal dwellings don’t seem to have made it onto the mapping systems used by the large German sedan manufacturers which is probably why the comrade leaders are choosing them. It gives them the ideal excuse…..”Oh my brother, I’m sorry. I wanted to help uplift you but my BMW 7 series couldn’t find you on the sat-nav so I just drove by”.
Then there are the lengthy stays in top hotels by our police minister and his high living buddies. I’m not so sure that this would pass the accountants in most businesses (perhaps with the exception of Enron or a Kebble company) so how the hell you can run up such a huge bill as a public servant beggars belief. But of course the answer is very simple. If you really don’t give a rat’s rear end about your constituents and you have a large parliamentary majority you can do what you damn well like with public money. And if you’re the head of the fuzz doubly so because anyone getting uppity about that extra bottle of Johnnie Blue that was ordered over dinner for twenty five close friends had better watch out. They know where you live and they might….I say might….find inappropriate stuff on your laptop which could ruin your career and drive you to suicide. If you can run up a half million bill in a hotel you can sure as hell make life ugly for the whistle blowers. Season of goodwill? Only for the lucky few.