Trail of corruption – and deaths

Find your own political millstone and vote these criminals out of power

ANC deputy president, David Mabuza. File picture
ANC deputy president, David Mabuza. File picture
Image: Masi Losi

When one of the most respected newspapers in the world publishes an extended essay on education and corruption under Deputy President DD Mabuza, you would expect a crisis response from within the ruling party.

Instead, there is a deadly silence from both the party and the president.

Thanks to the New York Times this week, the whole world now knows the depth of the corruption allegations against Mabuza and how seriously compromised President Ramaphosa has apparently become.

What turned the stomach with this article is how Mabuza allegedly channelled education funds earmarked for children of the poor to bolster his political standing in one of the most corrupt provinces and advanced his political fortunes on the national stage.

In the meantime, children in the province that he lorded over as premier died in pit latrines, with one little child suffocated in the waste with his hand desperately reaching out above the faeces. I will never forget that image presented by the authors of this somber analysis of the state of education and politics in SA.

Mpumalanga is the province where schools are burnt down, where the protests of angry residents against poor education infrastructure fall on deaf ears and where matric marks were artificially spiked on the watch, if not with the prompting of, the then premier who now stands one recall away from becoming the next president of the republic.

Sadly, there is no new dawn as economists, corporates and citizens around the country are beginning to acknowledge.

We now know that President Ramaphosa lacks the testicular fortitude to effectively deal with corruption in his party and his cabinet.

He has also shown himself to be weak in relation to pressure from the EFF for land reform, seeking to alter a constitution that he himself had crafted and which provides ample authority for effective land reform.

Put boldly, “snatching private property is about as destructive a policy as there is”, opined the Wall Street Journal this week with Zimbabwe and Venezuela as cautionary tales.

The problem facing SA in key social sectors, such as education and health, is neither constitutional authorisation nor “implementation capacity”– it is corruption and the Mabuza case is yet another example of the kind of impunity that runs unbroken from the Zuma regime into the present.

It is not conceptually farfetched to now talk about a political economy of corruption that infests the working of government at every level from national to provincial to local.

And those initial, promising actions of the president in relation to the state-owned enterprises have been eroded by continued inaction with respect to those hostile to the education of children (like DD Mabuza) or the care of the mentally ill (like Qedani Mahlangu back in favour with her party after resigning as Gauteng MEC for health following the death of 94 mentally ill patients).

How in fact does this disregard for the poor, whether it is towards children in school or patients in care, actually come about?

It happens when your foundational values are eroded, that set of anchors that help humans distinguish between right and wrong.

When greed and ambition consume you, the last thing on your mind is the welfare of the most vulnerable in a society.

What we have seen is a retreat into selfishness by those who once claimed selflessness.

DD Mabuza (I just cannot call this man “deputy president” for it would confer honours on him that he does not deserve) would not put his own children in schools that he robbed of the lifeblood of resources dispensed to his province by the national government.

And yet the fact that he is elected to high office in his party and in our government, says something also about our collective value system as citizens of the country.

Those whose children now suffer as a consequence of Mabuza’s leadership are among the same people who will vote him and his party back into power in 2019.

There is a special damnation reserved for those who cause such harm to children.

Said the Great Teacher himself, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea and a millstone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble into a pit latrine.”

Okay, I added the last four words to Luke’s record of the gospels, but I certainly hope DD Mabuza and the many politicians like him are aware of this curse upon them.

In the meantime, find your own political millstone and vote these criminals out of power.

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