When listening and reading remarks from some political and social leaders it is obvious that there is a serious disconnect in understanding the many problems of society. While blaming Apartheid is always an option, it rarely helps with the solution. Another approach is to accept the problems as fate accompli or utilize methods that have failed elsewhere.
Example, reports and specially “Outrage over KZN bursaries for virgins’ plan” Sunday Argus 24 Jan was interesting. While health activists were mad at having virginity tests done, critics miss the point.
The reality is that South Africa and especially Kwazulu-Natal has one of the highest HIV stats and teenage pregnancy stats globally and the numbers are increasing. Cost to taxpayers has spiralled and will rise as most pregnant teens are unable to maintain themselves or the offspring.
Hence, is it not helpful when the Mayor of a district municipality in Kwazulu-Natal seeks to inspire girls to remain protected and then rewards girls for this admirable stance with a bursary for virgins? This political leader has inspired many by thinking out of the box and rewarding responsible behaviour.
Similarly in Hans Strydom Street near the traffic circle, a family is living in a doorway with a new-born baby for many months. That poverty is common and perversely acceptable, is ironically not news.
What must be measured is why society allows just anybody to have kids. Since most vagrants are alcohol or drug addicts, a logical question is, what positive future does the child of an addict have?
When working people lose their jobs and homes there is a valid reason. This logic however does not apply to addicts and vagrants. What is expected when children grow up on the street with begging as a norm? Where is society’s humanity towards these children? Is it not practical to sterilize the addict and vagrant instead of trying to rescue a mentally injured child after the initial damage is done?
How does a street child attend school, how are clothes cleaned and homework done when regular begging provides food security? Are these kids not easy victims for paedophiles etc? Can we expect the street child to be normal when public rejection is the norm? Why should street kids say no to crime whilst hungry? From whom do the kids learn norms and standards?
Recently amid great controversy and protests from Cosatu, Parliament altered pension fund laws to compel retirement planning. Government leaders stated that workers are not responsible enough with regards to saving for their old age.
Ironically society allows addicts and vagrants to multiply even though they have no legal income whatsoever? For centuries, slaves were encouraged to breed as the kids were the master’s property.
In a multicultural capitalistic democratic society where people are considered liable for their actions, what is to be done with those who deliberately instigate perpetual liability onto others?
Presently the local, provincial and national government spend millions dealing with these issue in what is measured a humane manner. Sadly this comes at a great cost to genuine working families who struggle to move from the shack-lands to state housing. A medical procedure, a fraction of the cost could solve the problem with addicts and vagrants that produce but cannot care for their kids.
We must solve the minor problems before they become crises.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress