Bosasa proves it yet again: SA's leaders are a world-class mess

Ideas

Bosasa proves it yet again: SA's leaders are a world-class mess

Trump and Zim are imploding, the UK is a joke and SA is mired in mindblowing corruption. Where are the good leaders?

Columnist


What a thoroughly depressing week. For those of you who are old enough to remember a time when being able to say “superior logic” didn’t mean you are political savvy, here’s a question: remember those days when we said we will never be as corrupt as the Sani Abachas of Nigeria, or the Mobutu Sese Sekos of Zaire?
The Bosasa and Gupta scandals confirm it: we are there. We are there.
What a depressing week for the world, for Africa, for SA.
Zimbabwe is going to hell in a handbasket. Emmerson Mnangagwa, the dictator Robert Mugabe’s former chief henchman, is sending troops and secret police to arrest, detain, maim and murder his own people. Some of us are not at all surprised: he did it in the 1980s with the murder of thousands of people in Matabeleland. He repeated it in 2008 when he helped Mugabe steal an election. It’s happening again.
Zimbabwe’s neighbours, particularly us South Africans, are quiet in the face of these atrocities. Our leadership is supposed to be an improvement on the past, yet SA is treating Mnangagwa exactly as it used to treat Mugabe: with sickening, immoral deference.
An election has been rigged and stolen twice over in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Life goes on. When faced with a situation like this one, instead of speaking clearly and loudly for truth and justice, many of us (and our governments) opt to make a deal with the devil. In the case of the DRC the devil is the man who rigged that election in the first place: “outgoing” leader Joseph Kabila.
In the UK the far right-wing, nationalist agenda of isolationism – euphemistically called Brexit – continues to cause havoc. It is incredible that the UK can even be considered the leader, in some way or other, of the Commonwealth. It cannot lead itself, let alone an association of 53 countries. When I hear British conservatives talk about how they are going to harness the Commonwealth for their bright new future I don’t know whether to weep or laugh. It’s a joke.
Meanwhile, in SA most people are discovering, thanks to the Zondo State Capture Commission, that the vast majority of their political and government leaders have been taking bribes from Bosasa, the Guptas and many others for years. The scale of the Bosasa bribery network is breathtaking; the extent of the ANC’s depravity and hypocrisy is mindblowing.
We learn from the Sunday Times that former president Jacob Zuma was on their monthly payroll. We know that Cyril Ramaphosa’s election campaign received their dirty lucre. Is no one, no one, clean in the ruling party? Don’t tell me about the opposition parties. Julius Malema lives in the house of an alleged smuggler.
In the US the leadership of Donald J Trump makes one shudder. As the news magazine The Atlantic put it: “This week marks the midway point of Trump’s term. Like many Americans, we sometimes find the velocity of chaos unmanageable. We find it hard to believe, for example, that we are engaged in a serious debate about whether the president of the United States is a Russian-intelligence asset.”
Very few of us can actually believe this. Yet in a week of chaos in which Trump continued with his shutdown of the government, more and more evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Russians to undermine his own people continues to leak from various sources. The volume of leaks is just too much to ignore. It is similar to what we saw with Zuma in 2014: there were so many scandals that any medium-term thinker could see where this was headed.
The Trump show is now on the Zuma trajectory. Trump cannot survive. We now know that even the Federal Bureau of Investigation became so concerned by his behaviour that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests. Last week it emerged that he concealed details about his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin even from officials of his own administration. Incredibly, on one occasion he went so far as to confiscate his interpreter’s notes and tell her not to disclose what went on between him and Putin.
That’s the state of our world this past week and I haven’t even started on the racism, the sexism and the sheer hate that is exploding across the globe. We are here because of poor leadership by the likes of Trump. We will get out, hopefully, through the leadership of many young leaders emerging across the globe. We must hope. We must hope.

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