Protesters blockade the road in Pretoria on June 21. Picture: THE TIMES/ALON SKUY
Protesters blockade the road in Pretoria on June 21. Picture: THE TIMES/ALON SKUY
People pass the remains of a bus used to barricade a road by protesters in Atteridgeville on Tuesday. REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
People pass the remains of a bus used to barricade a road by protesters in Atteridgeville on Tuesday. REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Lootocracy. That’s what we have in SA. Government of the looters. By the looters. For the looters. The scenes of criminality playing out in the nation’s capital city this week have nothing to with democracy. Neither do they have anything to do with delivering services to the people. Instead it’s one looter group vs another.

It is a free for all. Tenderpreneurs masquerading as champions of democracy are at one another’s throats. The incumbents are fighting to defend their turf from the next bunch of looters. The rich coffers of the state are the fat new terrain of struggle. The pigs are still feeding at the trough.

And some guys from Luthuli House think they can just put their own gang ahead of everyone else. Don’t they know such lucrative markets are worth defending with everything at one’s disposal?

It’s a big boys’ game. There are no rules. Only the bullies survive. Burn a much-needed municipal building here, a school there, and the odd bus on the next street.

It’s enough to send a message that you’ll not go down without a fight. That tender pipeline is worth destroying critical infrastructure for.

Who needs a municipal clinic (even if it is named after one of our greatest struggle heroes, Stanza Bopape?) or a township school anyway? Especially when your own kids have their functioning school in the suburbs?

And your Government Employees Medical Scheme card entitles you to the best private medical care money can buy. At any rate, surely when you’ve looted a few millions while awarding tenders to your friends you can afford to pay any private hospital for the best of treatment?

The scenes in Pretoria, the assassinations in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal, show what is wrong with this democracy.

A few political party bosses and their funders are in charge. Not the people. At local, provincial and national level, the tender is everything. Who cares about the people? We, the tenderpreneurs and our political puppets, can always tell them who to vote for.

Then we’ll revisit them after five years to tell them, again, who to vote for. What do they know about choice and accountability anyway? Would they have voted the same way for the past two decades if they were worth the franchise at all?

So is MTN getting ready to Shute the lights out?

Now that Rob Shuter has been named as the new chief of MTN, the company should be setting its sights on its next growth phase. Shuter, an experienced businessman, has been around the block. As the chief financial officer of Vodacom a few years ago, he was an approachable executive who always had time and patience to explain some complicated detail to a sceptical journalist.

He is known to have a clean approach to business, unlike many of the tenderpreneurs mentioned earlier.

His former colleague, Mike Brown, the chief executive of Nedbank, has this to say about Shuter: “Rob is an extremely talented and professional executive with deep experience in financial services and in the mobile arena. Rob is smart, highly motivated and has a tremendous work ethic and I have absolutely no doubt he will be very successful in his new role.”

While operational success is the most important aspect of any CEO’s job, Shuter has a lot of groundwork to do to put MTN on a sustainable footing.

If, as expected, he employs the work ethic that put him in executive positions at two of SA’s largest banks and mobile phone companies, his job will already be halfway done.

What MTN needs more than anything are governance and back-office structures and processes. With his accounting background, Shuter may just be the man to help MTN avoid the fines it has been paying for noncompliance across Africa.

Please login or register to comment.