Fellow citizens, the best we can do now is vote this lot out
The likes of DD Mabuza have left us no option but to find our own political millstones and do what is right
When one of the world’s most respected newspapers, The New York Times, publishes an extended essay alleging education corruption that occurred under Deputy President DD Mabuza you would expect a crisis response from the ruling party.
Instead, there is a deadly silence from both the party and the president.
Thanks to the New York Times’s Saturday article the whole world now knows of the depth of the corruption that allegedly took place in Mpumalanga under Mabuza, then the premier, and how seriously compromised President Cyril Ramaphosa evidently is.
That Mabuza allegedly channelled education funds earmarked for children of the poor to bolster his standing and advance his political fortunes to the national stage turns the stomach.
In the meantime children in the province he lorded over as premier – one of our most corrupt provinces – died in pit latrines.
One little child suffocated in waste with his hand desperately reaching out above the faeces.
I will never forget that image presented by the authors of this sombre analysis of the state of education and politics in this country.
Mpumalanga is where schools are burned down, where the protests of angry residents against poor education infrastructure fall on deaf ears and where matric marks were artificially spiked on the watch, if not with the prompting of, the then premier who now stands one recall away from becoming the next president of the republic.
Sadly, there is no new dawn as economists, corporates and citizens around the country are beginning to acknowledge. We now know that Ramaphosa lacks the testicular fortitude to effectively deal with corruption in his party and his cabinet.
He has also shown himself to be weak in relation to pressure from the EFF for land reform, seeking to alter a constitution that he himself helped craft – which provides ample authority for effective land reform.
Put baldly, “snatching private property is about as destructive a policy as there is”, opined the Wall Street Journal this week with Zimbabwe and Venezuela as cautionary tales.The problem facing SA in key social sectors such as education and health is not constitutional authorisation nor “implementation capacity”– it is corruption and the Mabuza case appears to be yet another example of the kind of impunity that runs unbroken from the Zuma regime into the present.
It is not conceptually far-fetched to now talk about a political economy of corruption that infests the workings of government at every level – from national to provincial to local.
And those initial, promising actions of the president in relation to the state-owned enterprises have been eroded by continued inaction with regard to those hostile to the education of children (such as, evidently, DD Mabuza) or the care of the mentally ill (such as Qedani Mahlangu who is back in favour with the ANC after resigning as Gauteng MEC for health after the deaths of 144 mentally ill patients).
How does this disregard for the poor, whether towards children in school or patients in care, actually come about? It happens when your foundational values are eroded, the set of anchors that helps humans to distinguish wrong from right. When greed and ambition consume you, the last thing on your mind is the welfare of the most vulnerable in a society.
What we have seen is a retreat into selfishness by those once claiming selflessness.
DD Mabuza (I just cannot call this man “Deputy President” for it would confer honour he does not deserve) would not put his own children into the schools he stands accused of robbing of the lifeblood of resources dispensed by national government.
That he was elected to high office and in our government in his party despite the obvious gross maladministration of Mpumalanga says something about our collective value system as citizens.
Those whose children now suffer as a consequence of Mabuza’s poor leadership are among the same people who will vote him and his party back to power in 2019.
There is a special damnation reserved for those who cause harm to children. Said the Great Teacher himself: “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea and a millstone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble into a pit latrine.”
Okay, I added the last four words to Luke’s record of the gospels but I hope Mabuza and the many politicians like him are aware that this curse could be upon them.
In the meantime, find your own political millstone and vote criminals out of power.