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Robbin’ the ‘hood

Oscar Foulkes March 14, 2011 Uncategorized No comments

More gangsta than police boss (in dress, certainly), Bheki Cele

Three weeks have now passed since the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, released her report, in which she found National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele guilty of improper conduct and maladministration. There are no signs of Cele facing any disciplinary procedures, and the R500 million lease that was the subject of the investigation remains in place.

The bare bones of what went down is that Cele’s mate, Roux Shabangu, bought a R50 million property once he had the assurance that SAPS would enter into a R500 million rental agreement. Sweet deal.

If the guy who heads the police service can act without probity – with impunity – it is time for us to be asking Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who will guard the guards themselves)?

Last night’s Carte Blanche highlighted the appalling state of schools in the Eastern Cape. At best, it’s a product of inept administration and negligence. At worst, well, you can toss in every variation of fraud, theft or corruption that pops into your head.

Apart from the loss of taxpayers’ funds, the people most affected by this knavery are the kids being deprived of an education (not to mention the lunch they’re supposed to get while at school).

I’m not suggesting that Robin Hood lived his life by exemplary morals, but he occupies a place of some respect, if only in legend, in that he relieved only the rich of excess belongings. The robbing being done in South Africa is from neighbourhoods who can least afford it. And the robbing isn’t of surplus material objects; communities are being deprived of safe water, sewerage, education, housing and basic health care. Yes, some of these shortages are the result of insufficient resources, but how much more could be done if government (at national and local levels) was both honest and efficient.

Zuma and his cronies should be aware that the demographics in South Africa (large numbers of unemployed people under the age of 30) are very similar to Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The upcoming local government elections could get very interesting indeed. I’m not expecting a huge shift in voters to parties other than the ANC; the number to watch is the percentage turnout. A low voter turnout in traditional ANC areas will be tantamount to a vote of no confidence.

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