BARNEY MTHOMBOTHI: We're heading for a cliff unless we reinvent our failing politics
'The president wields excessive power and that obviously needs to change. But shouldn't such a powerful person face some sort of job interview?'
Thuma Mina is clearly not working. In fact it feels as though since taking over, Cyril Ramaphosa has been hellbent on driving us full steam towards a cliff. His handling of the land issue has certainly left one questioning his acumen. Things have got worse. We're on the edge of the precipice. Just about hanging on by our fingernails. A little nudge and it's curtains.
I can hear some say: "Don't blame everything on the politicians." Don't believe the spin or the apologia. Politics is everything. If you dispute that, here's a few statistics: on May 9 2009 when Jacob Zuma, an illiterate comrade, became president, the currency was trading at R8.40/$. It's now just about hugging R15.
The price of petrol on the Reef was R7.52 (it was R4/l in 2004!).
It's become something of a daily lament by the public that our politicians are hopeless and that parliament itself has become a disgrace, a circus that's not even funny or entertaining to watch. We bewail the fact without coming up with a solution. We don't know where to start. What exactly is the cause of this malaise? Is this what democracy is about, people incoherently shouting at one another? Or do we have unreasonable expectations about or understanding of democracy, which after all is new to us? We may have seen how democracy works in other parts of the world, but every country is unique, with its own foibles and idiosyncrasies. One often hears people say: "Look at Australia. Look at New Zealand. Or Singapore." The fact is we're not any of those countries. Some of our people have left, and are still leaving, and they may find that things aren't that rosier on the other side. There's no crime, but then boredom gets the better of you with time. It may be the weather, the scenery...