Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg burns after being looted, July 12 2021. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD
Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg burns after being looted, July 12 2021. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD

SA is in the midst of a wrenching political catharsis that is deeply-corrosive in all areas of society. Things are falling apart; the centre is not holding. It is the climax of a quarter-century of kleptocratic misrule, compounded by savage infighting in the governing party. 

But some good things may emerge from the fires of this putative putsch (if, indeed, that is what it was). Our troublous times could give birth to a responsible, stable, honest, progressive, nonracial and realistic coalition of centrist groups. That could chart the way to a better course and realise the country’s untold potential and deal effectively with inherent problems by adopting and implementing sensible policies and sound governance principles.

These policies and principles are not far to be found — they are engraved in our inspiring constitution. First, there must be a return to law and order, and to committed respect for the rule of law; then, it is vital to unleash the forces of free enterprise from the dead hand of overbearing government — to drive growth, job creation and economic prosperity on an uninhibited and nonracial basis; and there is a crying need for greater accountability from those in government by making steady progress away from overly centralised control towards sensible and effective devolution of power.

As a governing party the ANC has failed in achieving these goals; it has danced to the drumbeat of extremist minorities, bringing the country to a chaotic crisis reminiscent of the looming political Armageddon we faced in 1991-1994. Let’s learn from that experience and once again place faith in the process that wrought the “Miracle of ’94” — a coming together of visionary leaders who rose above lesser political constraints and fashioned a moderate government of national unity to lead us through the tough times of transition.

It is time to make another miracle, SA — another Great Reset — that can point us away from the abyss of anarchy and atrophy.

Gordon Olive, Jonathan Hobday and Adrian King

Cape Town 

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