Recent incidents have left me questioning whether our political leaders care about this country and the well-being of its citizens. There are many examples, but I will mention only two. The first concerns North West premier Thandi Modise, who deliberately ignored finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s recommendations on going easy with public funds. She purchased a R1,3 million BMW.
It goes without saying that her excuse for spending this money was lame. But what can we expect from people who believe they will rule until the return of Jesus Christ? They are obviously not worried about losing power anytime soon, so why be bothered about the public’s opinion?
The second incident is also from Modise’s province. Residents took to the streets in Madibeng Municipality to object to an ongoing water shortage problem. Police opened fire and four residents ultimately died, allegedly as a result of this action. Once again, had our leaders cared about their own people, it could have been avoided. The problem surfaced more than five years ago but was ignored. Today, the province’s leaders are visiting the homes of the deceased and behaving as if they knew nothing about it.
An ongoing problem
Farmer’s Weekly reported on this issue back in 2010. At that time, however, the problem was not in Mothotlung, Damonsville or Mmakau. It was in Jericho, which falls under the same municipality less than 50km from where the recent killings occurred.
During the past five years, villagers have complained and newspapers have reported the story. But who listened?
These were, after all, just peaceful villagers who did not burn tyres or block roads to force the police to shoot them! The very same allegations about sabotage and self-enrichment by government officials and their cronies who owned water tankers were made.
Jericho villagers alleged that some officials had turned off water sources in order to create work for the tanker operators, but the matter was not taken seriously. It reached a point where these officials, realising that no one cared, became even more greedy and expanded their corrupt dealings.
Ultimately, the latest lack of service delivery led to the deaths of innocent people, whose only sin was to fight for their basic right of access to clean water. It took four deaths for the premier to put her new German wheels to good use and pay a few visits. News surfaced that some of her colleagues had been aware of the deliberate switching off of water sources, and I have a strong feeling that Modise had also been aware of it. But it took this tragedy for her and minister Edna Molewa to sign an MoU and Project Implementation Plan to resolve the issue.
It was also revealed that there were about 20 government water trucks in Pretoria that could have been used to transport water to these areas instead of spending about R1,3 million a month paying service providers. Even worse, it took the municipality only a day or so to fix the pumps. Had no one died that day, it would have been business as usual.
So much for caring leaders!