From all the politicians, National and Provincial Ministers and parliamentarians, Mayoral committee members, including proportional Councillors only ward Councillors are voted in by the people. None of the other politicians are elected via a public ballot. Generally, in South Africa people vote for political parties and not for individuals. In political parties, those who decide who survives the proportional list for Council, Provincial and National Parliament are a select few. The decision makers normally make these decisions behind closed doors. The interests of the decision makers therefore assumes priority, what is best for the party comes second and what is vital for the country and its citizens comes last.
As a result, the politicians and officials appointed by political parties generally serve the directive of the decision makers and not necessarily the requirement of the public. It is the decision makers in the party that appoints, evaluates and rewards. It is they, who protect the corrupt and those who waste public funds with absurd ideas. Even those directly elected by the voter are aware that the party nomination is responsible for their victory or failure.
According to Oscar Ameringer “Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other”. Thus decision makers realize the nature of party members and are likely to attract those with popular appeal, to maximize the election vote. Some are invited because they can access campaign contributions, while others are rewarded for historic loyalty. Those who threaten the well- being of decision makers are seldom re-selected even though they may have the required skills, knowledge or experience. As a result, the primary concern of those selected, is self-preservation and upward mobility at the expense of everything else.
Some time ago Willie Hofmeyr former head of the Special Investigating Unit stated that South Africa was losing billions every year to corruption, incompetence and negligence in the public service. On a regular basis tragic decisions are made, because those responsible, lack knowledge and experience which are the foundation blocks of wisdom. Without insight, officials and politicians experiment with projects. How else can we explain the billions wasted at all levels of governance and the numerous qualified audits received by so many municipalities and departments?
I believe that little will change with regards to the overall ineptitude and corruptions at the highest levels of governance, unless those paid to lead, are held accountable. For example, South African Airways has had 9 turnaround strategies in 13years and 4 chief executive officers in 6 months. The 8 previous turnaround strategies cost R16 billion and last year the SAA reported a loss of R1.25 billion.
According to rural health analyst Dayan Eagar, an investigation by the Special Investigative Unit has found that over an 18-month period, R800 million was stolen by officials in the Eastern Cape health sector. “As far as we know, no one is in prison for this grand theft”.
Likewise, the SABC 2013 annual report, tabled in Parliament, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe findings include the SABC spending over R1.5 billion and not being able to provide corresponding documentation on what the money was used for. The SABC had also procured goods and services through unfair and non-transparent means. The SABC received the worst possible audit opinion. A disclaimer is issued if the Auditor-General cannot form an opinion and declines to present an opinion.
According to Aristotle, “The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes”. This wisdom suggests that South Africa needs a political and an intellectual class and not purely a materialistic aristocracy to re-charter a collective course for the next generations.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress