Rather commend success

ALAN Patrick (“Other nations provide guidelines for successful state”, April 23) sought to focus on the typo not on the logic of the statement in my letter, “Mayor gives metro hope” (April 15). The error did not alter the force of the argument.

Ireland got its independence from England in 1922 not 1992 and in 2007 it was one of the top economies in Europe. But at some stage it went through some problems.

I used the statistics because of our obsession of focusing on heights we failed to achieve without examining where we came from and I was not making a philosophical argument at all. The risk of focusing on heights to be attained as a yardstick of measuring success is that it is easy to become cynical and disillusioned – everything is a failure.

The South African government has done well in delivering services to the people since the advent of democracy. This view has nothing to do with the political party I support, but has something to do with the fact that service delivery changed the quality of life of those who were previously denied such services.

Alan advances a strange logic in the sense that he is prepared to refute any claim from the government even if it says there is force of gravity.

In the letter published in the Weekend Post on the same subject (“Business, municipality must pull together to realise goals”, April 19), I added that we must also guard against complacency because democracies can be reversed.

Western Europe and North America regarded themselves as complete democracies and the rest of the world must look like them. It is an illusion that the Western liberal paradigm in and by itself is a complete democracy, as Alan wants to believe.

The consolidation of democracy is depending on the number of issues, not only on service delivery. For example, none of South Africa’s presidents since the advent of democracy ever took a decision to suspend the constitution when the courts pronounced against their wishes and that is a very important point to make.

During apartheid people feared what government would do to them but now people are concerned about what the government will do for them. I am appealing to Alan not to punish success but commend it.

Mpumezo Ralo, Port Elizabeth

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