“Why do you always criticise the government”? He asked. Who me? I wouldn’t presume.
But, it’s not as though they don’t give us stuff to talk about. Am I criticising? I’m observing. I’m expressing an opinion. Apart from us still having the constitutionally enshrined right to an opinion, is it not our duty as citizens and thinking beings to have one? We elected this government. I don’t know about anyone else, but I definitely voted for them. Is it not normal to discuss what the government and president one voted for does? If the government is not working to the mandate given to it by the people, is it not our duty to notice? And having noticed, should we not speak? Is that not why our mothers and fathers fought for democracy?
Right now all talk is about Prez JZ’s new house. For sure, I’m talking. I have an opinion. It’s more than a house really, isn’t it? It’s more like a village; a private hamlet. One can’t help but wonder what consciousness makes one person, an elected person, nogal, who will not be president forever, think that it’s even within the realms of being ethical to build himself a hamlet when on the way to that hamlet he must drive past people who voted for him; people to whom he personally promised houses three years ago; people who are living in corrugated iron shacks of two metres square. These people are still waiting for the houses the president promised them. Those houses are not going to materialise because this one man has spent all the money on a village all for himself. But then, I am wrong to say he will drive past the poor homeless ones. He will fly over them in his helicopter.
Beyond the abuse of public funds, and flagrant giving the finger to the people, where is the morality or ethical conscience in this situation? Is it wrong to ask that question? Does it qualify as criticism? It’s an honest question which hopes for an answer. Personally, I don’t object to him having a lot. He has been our president so he must leave office with a lot of money and stuff, but this is extreme, and not a little obscene. Could he not, at least, build houses for the people at the same time as building so much for himself? Could he not ‘conspicuously’ make us see that he’s fulfilling his mandate of taking take care of the people?
I would love to hear the justification for further building this private hamlet to the tune of R235 mill. There hasn’t really been one, has there? They don’t seem to think one is owed. They say it’s none of our business. They say it’s about security? That’s some security. But, I don’t know, perhaps he does need it and the accoutrements of a private trauma clinic, a private fire station, a bunker in case of drone attacks. Is there a swimming pool and tennis court? There must be. Is there a spa for all those wives? Is there a gym? There is also a visitors centre. Come on now, a visitors centre at a private home? The spokesperson said it’s for when Obama comes to visit. Is he serious? No, surely he’s joking. Are they new BFF’s?
Then again, we must think forward. Perhaps he’s being forward thinking. This is ‘let them eat cake’ stuff. Perhaps he anticipates that he will need security from the revolution that, some say, is being incited by this ostentatious self-worship and self-enrichment in the face of preposterous levels and effects of poverty and hardship.
Perhaps he thinks he will need protection from the revolution that the pundits say is being agitated, not only by such phenomenal rapacity, but also by the killing of the miners at Marikana, which will not easily be forgiven or forgotten; by the discontent among the workers and the unemployed, by the ‘gatvol’ protests of the people. Commentators and cerebs have predicted our ‘arab spring’, coming soon.
If this ‘spring’ comes to pass will it be while this president is still president? Will our president be happy to sit by and let ‘revolution’ happen? Will he send the army, once again to kill fellow South Africans? Will he be happy for South Africans to kill one another, as long as he can stay protected from it all within the confines of his hamlet? Will his little hamlet be enough to make him secure? Will he not fear “till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane”? And then The Wood did come to Dunsinane.
In all the fun and games and pass the parcel of power, those to whom the legacy baton was handed are ignoring the ideals that our fallen struggle heroes fought for. This isn’t so much a criticism as the observation of a fact. The ruling party, for whom I was so proud of having voted, is not taking care of the economic rights, and dignity of the masses. And we, the citizens are guilty because we see but we don’t criticise. Where did we ever get the idea that holding a president, or a government accountable is unacceptable? Where did we get the idea that criticism is a negative thing? Who said that criticism is wrong? Constructive criticism is caring and responsible citizenship. We need more of it.
But, then again, perhaps it’s also a waste of breath. We don’t actually have any say in this democracy, do we? I’m cocksure and certain that no one up there in the government gives a damn what I think. They don’t care what you think either. Why would they? We don’t choose them. They choose each other.
We could have this same president for, at least, another seven years. While we respect his office, we are not blind, neither are we troglodytes. We have seen what has gone on. It’s only reasonable, therefore, for us to consider; if our Prez has done so much in the name of self-agrandisement in only three years, what can he not do with another seven? We’d better gird our loins.