Although many people are pleased that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has begun the process of managing other Ministers, the elephant in the room remains the culture of excess and contempt. In his attempt to inhibit wide-spread wasting of taxpayer’s money, Minister Gordhan exposes the disturbing reality that many in leadership are unable or reluctant to moderate their own behaviour.

In my opinion, many politicians and officials believe that they are entitled to live the high life at the expense of rate and taxpayers. The culture and principals of Batho Pele that was framed on every government notice board have been reduced to words.

As the Chairperson of a governing body I encounter similar excess. When people apply for financial exemptions from school fees, the school requests and I peruse the banking details to confirm the financial reality. Ironically, many who apply for exemption have the full DSTV package and their statements reveal regular visits to restaurants and fast food outlets.  Some drive fancy cars and have accounts with up-market clothing stores. Since I pay full fees on three children, have the cheap DSTV package {R275}, drive a 13 year old car and have no clothing accounts, I refuse such applications.

What I have come to realize, is that some people have a lifestyle that must be subsidised by others. Some people also lack the notion of shame as they actually expect the residual parents to cover the cost of the school governing body {SGB} teacher’s salary and so on. Parents pay a lot extra for SGB teachers so that their children enjoy smaller classes. While there is always the exception to the rule, whom we accommodate, I believe that the majority of parents understand that everything in life costs.

What is often required is for just one person to be brave enough to install the required discipline. While this may not make that person popular among the freeloaders, those who comprehend the importance of accountability must support such initiatives.

I therefore support Minister Pravin Gordhan in his attempt to minimize politicians and officials who are unable to restrain their overall gluttony at the expense of rate and taxpayers expense.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

 

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress