A year of self-serving politics

Instead of focusing on the country’s social and economic needs, government has turned inward.

Well, 2012 has come and gone. And, by any standards, it has been an eventful year, especially politically. One has only to consider former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s fall from grace, the furore around President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, the Marikana massacre, the Western Cape riots, and on top of it all, the run-up to the Mangaung elective conference.

What’s more, at the time of writing, we still have to endure the conference itself! Perhaps the only way we can cope is by retaining a sense of humour. Before going off to bed one evening, a little boy asks his father: “Dad, what is politics?” His father replies: “Let me to explain it this way, my boy. I earn the money in the family, so let’s call me Capitalism. Your mum controls the money, so we’ll make her Government.

We both look after you, so let’s call you People. We’ll think of your grandfather as the Working Class and your baby brother as the Future. That’s not too hard to understand, is it?”

The little boy is confused, though, as he goes to bed.

In the middle of the night, he wakes up to hear his baby brother crying. No one is attending to him, so he gets up to check on the baby himself. He finds that the child has a dirty nappy, so he walks to his his parents’ bedroom to tell them. Only his mother is in bed, and she is sleeping so deeply he can’t wake her. So he goes to the study, where he sees his father drinking his grandfather’s whisky. Not knowing what to do, he returns to bed.

The next morning at the breakfast table, the lad says to his father: “Dad, that lesson on politics you gave me yesterday: it all makes sense now!” His father is delighted that he seems to understand. “Tell me, my boy,” he says. The little boy replies: “Well, while Capitalism is busy stealing from the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the People are being ignored and the Future is in deep pooh.”

After this year’s political circus in South Africa, it’s difficult not to agree with this assessment of politics. It seems that our government is indeed sound asleep and to a great extent, has ignored the people. And the future of this country, while our politicians are fighting for their own survival on their way to Mangaung, doesn’t smell too rosy.

Christmas wishes
Want to know the Christmas present that I wish for most of all? It’s that government should wake up to what is really happening in the country. In particular, I’d like to see the bureaucrats running DAFF walk out of those expensive hotel rooms and get to grips with the real issues faced by farmers daily. I’d love to see the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform emerge from their absurd dream that keeping black farmers from owning land will solve land reform problems.

And I long for more public and private sector partnerships that will create sustainable jobs and ensure food security for everyone. Are these too much to ask for? I really hope not. On that note, may I wish all our readers a happy and prosperous New Year!