Give credit to President Cyril Ramaphosa for putting his finger on the problem. He does us a service by stating (the obvious) that corruption is so entrenched in our society as to threaten democracy. He is quite right.
But unfortunately, if the president will not address the cause of this parlous state, he will never find the solution. We have an ethical crisis — this has spawned ever-widening corruption. An ethical crisis is a cultural phenomenon. It does not mean we are irredeemably rotten. We know corruption is wrong and that it trespasses on our values. But when even this acknowledgment is lost, we are lost.
What to do? The president should acknowledge that the phalanx of top officials in the pre-1994 government had, mostly, not merely competence but a sense of ethics. Stealing was the exception, not the norm.
We all, including the ruling party, should reflect on this — that we may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in 1994. Such honest reflection would truly usher in a new dawn.
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