Letter: Time to put our house in order

State of the liberation movement

“A house with no rules quickly becomes a ruin”– that’s what my late grandfather used to tell us when we wanted to bend the house rules as children.

Today this quote is befitting to all the challenges our country is facing. Whether you are queueing in the bank or travelling, at the airport locally or abroad, everyone is asking how we ended up like this?

A promising country like South Africa, with so much goodwill. A new democracy that promised to rid Africa of all its ill-gotten gains and restore its dignity and pride, advance and exploit its natural resources and human capital to create a continent with a winning formula that is not dependent on aid and imperialist handouts.

One scholar said “Rome is burning” and that reminded me of how Nehemiah was recalled by his people to lead because they said “emzini kabawo kugquba iimpungutye” – which translates as “in our father’s land the hyenas are dwelling”.

Maybe that is true because we have the chief hyena claiming all these shenanigans with the NPA, SARS, SAA and finance ministry, and students with #FeesMustFall, as a manifestation of a true democracy.

The document “Through the eye of a needle” clearly outlines what an ANC cadre should be like. We grew up reciting Solomon Mahlangu’s last speech, and today our children laugh at us when we reminisce about how we fought side by side (black and white) to have our country liberated. They actually find it mind-boggling that we could have been ready to lay down our lives to nourish the tree of freedom, which today is withering because we are held to ransom by hyenas.

It is not the government that is captured – I think our own movement is, and we need to wake up and smell the coffee.

This revolution was not designed to be led through blind loyalty but was a result of scientific interventions that made sure that we crippled the apartheid system without bruising our mantle and image – we made sure that our cause was lauded and justifiable.

I am raising all this because I think we should call back our Nehemiahs and try to rework the South African project, because this free-for-all is going to lead us to ruin. We are on a downward, freefall slope and wishing for a miracle that will save us from credit downgrades, give students free education and an SABC board that will see reasons to fire Hlaudi. We talk in our enclaves and comfort zones because we do not want to rock the boat.

Where are our parliamentarians when students are crying for their rights? Are they still worried about their pensions and block voting to save one man and his cronies? In fact, I am not surprised as they flouted their own rules and refused to call the president to account. Today, we can’t even play our part as opposition because we don’t even know the rules we wrote – we chose to howl as we never prepared for that role. It’s high time that we have the right leadership, hence these EFF members are taking us to task with rules in parliament.

As proud South Africans, we need to craft a plan that will instill the rule of law, citizenship and reignite the energy that once made us a proud nation. Teach our children to know their obligations first before they can demand their rights. This debate needs to take place at public platforms before we get hit by another tsunami like #JailsMustFall.

I am sure our new mayor can give us the City Hall to meet once a month to chart our way forward as an institution for social change, and other NGOs can put resources together for coordinating such platforms.

We cannot be standing by the roadside while Rome is burning and expect no dire consequences. This will not be a platform to ask JZ [Jacob Zuma] to step down but will be a platform to enable everyone to contribute in making things right and setting our house rules.

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