What does it say about us?
I had the privilege to facilitate a programme for a group of senior executives from Mauritius and France the past week. We had the opportunity to listen to a group of prominent South Africans on topics such as the SA economy, the status of the social dynamics within the country, and other topics.
Whilst listening to a talk by Rhoda Kadalie on the situation in South Africa 20 years after the start of democracy, I had a feeling of a kind of déjà vu. It made me sad that we do not learn from history. Allow me to explain.
When I look at Germany, the period between 1933 and 1945 comes to mind. What does it say about the German population that they tolerated a Hitler? That they tolerated being dragged into a world war? This in spite of being an extremely intelligent and productive nation? Given my history background, I am aware of all the coercion etc that took place. But there’s a small little voice in my mind that says, still?…
Then my mind flipped to the Afrikaner in South Africa in 1948. What does it say about the Afrikaner that when the rest of the world moved towards democracy, we elected a political party to power that put in place racial policies that were reprehensible, to say the least? This in spite of being an intelligent and productive cultural group? Again, I am aware of the issues in our history that prompted this behaviour. But there’s a small little voice in my mind that says, still?…
And then I look at the political situation in South Africa in November 2014. What does it say about the ANC that it puts in place a president that is clearly more interested in himself than in the good of the country? That they not only tolerate him, but that they actively support and protect him against any endeavour to call him to task for his actions, or lack thereof? I am aware of the issues in the history of this country that will explain his behaviour, and that of the ANC. But there’s a small little voice in my mind that says, still?…
What is clear to me is that we are not identifying these trends and we are not learning from them. And while there is nothing we can do about the German and Afrikaner issues, other than learning from them, hopefully there is still something we can do about the ANC issue. I refuse to believe that there no ANC leaders that do not have the gumption to put their foot down and call the president to order. I refuse to believe that there are no ANC leaders that do not see that protecting the president at all costs is wrong for the future of this country! That do no see that the corruption we read about every day is ruining the future of this country!
I wrote an article a couple of years ago (2010) about the leadership situation in this country. I stated that the ANC owed it to this country to produce leaders in the ilk of a Mandela and a Tutu, given their dominant position in this country. I expressed my concern that things were going in the wrong direction (http://johanhburger.com/leadership-in-sa-on-the-brink-of-the-abyss/). I still am a bit of an idealist, but we need more than idealism to deal with what we have.
Parliament is becoming somewhat of an embarrassment. If it is not the riot police that remove opposition politicians, it is the nature of arguments that is a serious source of concern. I have no doubt that there are those who will state it is healthy for a democracy to have robust debates. I am not sure, however, that what we are currently experiencing is healthy! And we the taxpayers are footing the bill for this circus! That hurts!
And looking at it all, I am asking myself, what does it say about us? And what are we going to do about it?