Opinion - Dear Mr President, your anguish is shared by all — but South Africa needs decisiveness
This is not an open letter, just a train of thought that hopefully resonates, as many yearn for stronger and swifter action to end the crisis that is rapidly dragging our nation into a dangerous and dark place.
Dear Mr President, your anguish is shared by all — but South Africa needs decisiveness
**This opinion piece was first featured in the Daily Maverick**
The anarchy in parts of South Africa clearly has two sources and agendas: one political (to weaken your leadership and create instability that will count against you), the other, sheer criminality and opportunistic predation. Both agendas will feed off each other and gain momentum unless as a nation we urgently quell these negative forces.
No one would want your job today, not even the bereted man who blindly believes that his book of Venezuela solutions will take the nation forward.
There is no silver bullet for the anguish of our nation today. It requires both long and short-term issues to be addressed. While we must not ignore the various dynamics and underlying causes of our current plight — many of which will not be understood or accepted by all — the need for good governance and purposeful leadership to address poverty and unemployment is long overdue. As is the need to undo years of the decimation of our education, health and security structures, which has added to our economic woes. The deployment of people unfit for the jobs they fill must surely become a thing of the past. Millions remain flabbergasted by the likes of Gwede Mantashe and Fikile Mbalula trying to drive South Africa’s energy and transport solutions.
My worry is that stones are being cast in your direction from all sides, while the choices we have as an alternative to lead this nation are too ghastly to contemplate, especially your MIA deputy, David Mabuza, who conveniently seeks medical attention outside the country while a court case that requires answers for atrocities during his days as Mpumalanga premier unfolds.
Casting stones will not take us forward. A political dispensation that failed to put its people ahead of the party as it mastered the art of abuse of power and self-enrichment is no secret today. Let’s temporarily halt the blame game or debates of scenarios about what our future could or should look like, when we may not even have a future if we don’t stop the current devastation.
We cannot ignore the dialogue and work required to tackle our journey of healing. A Basic Income Grant and appointments to drive a developmental and investment environment are essential in our discourse and actions. Equally important is the need for a cultural and moral regeneration that supports and respects the rule of law. Our quiver of potential prosperity has many arrows that need sharpening.
We need action today. Action that will halt the brazen destruction, which has the heaviest impact on the poor. Action that will ensure accountability against every person who has been part of the atrocities, from the instigators to the leaders and looters.
While many are encouraged to witness communities aligning themselves with policing forums and neighbourhood-watch initiatives to safeguard lives and property, this too is unsustainable over the long term and is already giving rise to vigilante retaliation that has the potential to spiral out of control and with it, cause deeper divisions along ethnic lines that will shatter our dreams of a prosperous rainbow nation.
The last thing we need right now is martial law or a State of Emergency with its night-time curfews that remind us of the very dark days of our past. However, we also can’t ignore these options as a possible necessary evil to bring a faster end to the mayhem.
Without a swift solution, a food and economic crisis of massive proportions looms. Already, food and fuel supply lines are being choked and shops that are struggling to open are unable to replenish their shelves. Food scarcity is pushing prices way over the top of reasonable affordability, with negative consequences that are extremely worrying.
Please, Mr President, we ask that you demonstrate strong and decisive leadership in these times. Increase the outputs of your intelligence department. Ensure the police keep us better informed. Arrest and remove from society those who feed their destructive agendas with mindless rhetoric and false narratives. They have only one desire: the failure and destruction of South Africa, with a mindless vision that people will queue to elect them to build a fairyland utopia that has no hope of rational application in the real world.