To Ace change, SA must step aside from believing empty words

Ideas

To Ace change, SA must step aside from believing empty words

Words and phrases such as decolonisation and radical economic transformation have been bastardised

Columnist

South Africans are like Pentecostals. We repeat a word, a phrase, an acronym over and over until it has lost all meaning and simply becomes part of our belief system. In the process, we fall into the trap of thinking the word speaks reality into existence.

Will Ace “step aside”? My dictionary says that phrase means “to withdraw or resign from an important position or office”. It should be clear by now that the secretary-general of the ruling party has no intention of doing so. By giving him 30 days to make what should have been an instant decision, or face suspension, his party’s council gave him more than enough time to do what the cartoonist Zapiro sketched the other day: “sidestep” this halfhearted attempt to bring a big man to book.

What do we learn from this once-great liberation movement? A contempt for organisational discipline and a finger in the face of the justice system. We should not be surprised that children and young people are learning from this disdain for public institutions and disregard for public accountability. In 2020 alone, the wanton damage to university property at one Durban institution was estimated at more than R27m and close to R1bn in the 2015-16 student protests. When your leaders disregard the rules of decency and any respect for the law, then expect such destruction of sites of higher learning...

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