Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bullard on the ANC

Elvis and the ANC…..the jailhouse rockers. David Bullard Sunday, January 10, 2010



Last Friday would have been Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday if he had lived. It was also the ANC’s 98th birthday and, as any good newspaper editor (is there such a thing these days?) knows,the trick is to try and link the two in some meaningful manner. Not easy I admit but after a healthy de-tox breakfast of fruit and seeds the old grey matter sprang to life and the comparison became glaringly obvious. No, it’s nothing to do with the fact that both Jacob Zuma and Elvis Presley are/were great vocalists and hip swivelers. It’s all to do with the final days of Elvis. The drugs and the hard living clearly weren’t agreeing with his metabolism and in public appearances he looked bloated and unhealthy and seemed vague….rather like the ANC at the moment.

I’m not sure whether the ANC collectively believe in following the Mayan calendar which ends in 2012 but their behaviour certainly suggests that short termism is a prominent feature of a ruling party that claims to be on the side of the poor. Whether or not the bloody handbook allows some drooling cabinet minister to blow R1.5 million on a couple of luxury cars is irrelevant. Common sense should tell them that this is offensively inappropriate for a party of the poor irrespective of economic circumstances. During a global recession it’s little more than a middle finger to the electorate who now have to wait another four ears before they have another attempt to elect a government.

I have to say I am disappointed. I honestly believed that this sort of nonsense would be stamped out when Zuma came to power but I guess it must be difficult for him. While he has shown a preparedness to root out corruption at municipalities and to make surprise visits to absentee mayors there is little he can do about the venality of his own cabinet colleagues. It’s there in the rulebook.

If you’ve never been to a sweet shop in your life and then suddenly find yourself locked in one for the night I guess it’s obvious that you will gorge until you’re sick. But the sweet shop opened to all races back in 1994 and one might have hoped that, as the bard put it, “surfeiting, the appetite might sicken and so die”. Not a chance. The luxury car market was probably saved by government spending last year as the people’s leaders rushed off to purchase their BMW 750’s. Incidentally, all of these cars have engines capable of propelling the ministerial barge at speeds way beyond the legal limit of 120km/h. So what’s the point of spending all that money? You can get a fabulous VW Passat with all mod cons for less than R500000 that would do the job just as well and offers as much passenger and luggage space. So it must all be about fragile egos and the desire to empty the trough while there is still some swill left.

Unfortunately that doesn’t bode well for South Africa. When you have a government (a squabbling one at that) who have no interest or desire in planning for the future you are in deep trouble. Why do we have a shortage of power stations? Because the world is going to end in 2012 so a power station that comes on stream in 2015 is a waste of money. Rather blow it on cars. Or bonuses for cronies who have screwed up at the SABC/Eskom/ SAA etc etc. Why aren’t we too bothered about our threatened water resources? Because the world is going to end in 2012 and, with any luck, the supply of drinking water to those who deserve it should last until then. Why is our education system turning out children who will never be employable? Because the world is going to end in 2012 so all they have to do is beg for the next couple of years and then it won’t be a problem any more.

But just in case the Mayans were wrong maybe the ANC should have a back up plan. For example, it would be lovely to hear them refer to themselves as “the governing party” rather than the “ruling party”. That at least would demonstrate that they had some idea why they are where they are. It would be even more encouraging if those with low matric scores in mathematics like Julius Malema were discouraged from pronouncing on topics like the nationalization of the mines. Just in case foreign investors come to believe that a future ANC government would seize privately owned and foreign owned assets without compensation. Julius obviously believes that owning a mine makes you very rich. Mining houses may disagree with that view explaining that if you don’t receive more for the gold than the cost of digging it out the ground then you’re not getting rich. Can you expect Julius to grasp such a complex concept?

Our biggest problem though is the new racism; specifically the job reservation for blacks which is no different to job reservation for whites under apartheid. We simply refuse to tap into the talent that is available in this country. I heard last week of a doctor who is well qualified not getting a job he applied for because he is the wrong colour. The position remains vacant and the community he serves urgently needs more medical practitioners but the bureaucrats can’t stray from their demographic guidelines. It’s in the rulebook. With thinking (sic) like that we can only hope the Mayans were right.

2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

As usual, Bullard makes complete sense - the ANC is just a bundle of good news all round. As far as I know, he goes to trial in Feb regarding his axing at the Sunday Times. Wouldn't it be something if he won his old job back?

Exzanian said...

“the governing party” rather than the “ruling party”.
Touche' David Bullard...brilliant observation!