When delivering the 17th Nelson Mandela Lecture, chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng referred to those living in comfort zones as traitors. His scathing statement was done in a nonpartisan manner, castigating those in power and society for the ever-widening gap between the economic classes, which has created a major crisis in our unbalanced society.

Corruption in Mzansi has reached cancerous proportions. In fact, so pervasive is this phenomenon that it can be labelled the “Aids of democracy”, which is destroying the future of this generation and the next. The corruption epidemic in our country reflects the more general, and now legendary, climate of unethical leadership and bad governance found throughout the political spectrum.

After 26 years of democracy, our rich country remains a land of peasants, and increasingly of landless urbanised populations living on the margins in squalid squatter camps bursting at the seams; political dynamite waiting to explode. Our silent emergency comes in the form of pernicious killers such as poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and widespread unemployment. Current statistics do not capture the full and often intangible extent of massive human suffering and lost opportunities.

When democracy dawned in 1994, many hoped for liberty, prosperity and a new beginning. They have been cruelly disappointed. This situation is unacceptable and untenable. Mzansi is a powder keg. Vision, foresight and courage are urgently required to forestall these cataclysmic events.

Farouk Araie


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