Lessons from SONA 2015

A friend of mine, Willem van Huysteen, wrote the following Facebook post to his daughters in Afrikaans. The relevance of his post for all of us really struck me. Even if we do not agree with all of his points, we must contemplate and reflect on the happenings in Parliament last night. My one great fear is that we get so embroiled in the events of the evening, that we lose sight and track of the 9 Priorities for the years ahead. The latter are very important and we should all work towards making them a reality. Whether we would be able to do so without a strong and ethical leadership, is another question.

However, let’s hear what Willem had to say to his 2 young daughters.

“I am aware that less than a week ago I said that that I would not be wasting my time this year on Eskom, Telkom and the government. Unfortunately I am somewhat obsessive (I wash my hands about 50 times a day to prevent fingerprints on my iPhone) and know that I do not say something now, I would not be able to do my work.

Like the rest of you, I try and teach my two young daughters to respect the rules of society, to think for themselves, and to question all things. We therefore were all in front of the TV last night to follow the opening of Parliament. It was my less than pleasant task to make something of last night’s events in order for my kids to learn something from it.

Well, Bea and Geta, I have done with my work for the morning, and with the co-operation of Parliament, there is a lot we can learn!

Lesson 1): Why did the cell phones initially have no signal? That is what people and organizations do if they have something to hide. You have seen that it does not help to be dishonest; you get caught out! It also happens at Eskom and Telkom. People who do not know what they are doing, hide, or try to hide, their rubbish!

Lesson 2): “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. This is applicable to the lady in the yellow dress and the skew glasses. She allowed others to appoint her to a position for which she was not qualified for, and you have seen how unhappy this has made her. You must never present yourself as someone you are not or ever can be!

Lesson 3): If you do not know what to do, hide behind the rules. This is especially applicable to the 2 ladies, the one in the yellow dress and the other one in the black dress, but also to the people in the red overalls. “If everything else fails, refer to the rules and regulations”. This is, amongst others, why General Motors, which once was one of the greatest companies in the world, is now bankrupt. People that like rules, on average do not like to think.

Lesson 4): Mr Jacob Zuma. This is what someone looks like who is totally incompetent for the position he is in. Unfortunately this is also what a coward looks like. You will remember that he never referred to the events in Parliament – that is because he does what others prescribe and it was not his speech. Unfortunately it is also the man that will talk to President Putin of Russia on our behalf, or probably will listen to him. I do not know whether I should be laughing or crying at the thought thereof, but it gives me nightmares.

Lesson 5): Why do people applaud when the president says “cheers”? These are the loyal members of the ANC – people who first think about their survival before they think, if at all. They have elected Jacob Zuma as their leader and is of the opinion that he is the best person in their party for the position of president. They applaud because they are satisfied with the performance of their leader – he has done what they expected of him and has portrayed the correct image of the ANC to us and the rest of the world.

Lesson 6): Why are the people in the red overalls behaving so badly in Parliament? This is what people look like that have no respect for our country’s rules! Unfortunately it is also what people look like that are allowed to act like that by incompetent cowards. In a democracy, the voters get the government they deserve, and in Parliament the speaker and president get the actions and lack of respect they deserve. Please remember that respect is never linked to a title or position of authority – respect is something you can only get through your actions.

Lesson 7): Why were there armed security people in Parliament? I really do not know, but out of my own experience I know that this is how bullies work. If they cannot deal with opposition, violence is the only way they can argue. Unfortunately the people in the red overalls are now going to take weapons to Parliament to protect themselves. We will therefore see a lot of violence in Parliament due to Lessons 2, 3 and 4 above. It will soon be safer to walk in Voortrekker Street in the middle of the night than to be in Parliament!

Lesson 8): What now Dad? I do not have an answer, but what you have seen is a shame and a sign of a total lack of respect for the rights and future of the 2 of you. Fortunately we have seen that there are so many incompetent people in important positions in our country, that there will always be work for people who know what they are doing. We live in a beautiful country with wonderful opportunities and people. Dad will continue to defend our country and its people when talking to people abroad that are waiting for us to implode, but I will never again try to explain or tolerate the incompetence of the ANC.”

On a personal note, I do agree with Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s view on the nature of the EFF’s actions. I also do wish that the ANC elect someone who is capable to provide leadership for us all. They owe it to us!

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