So the Bluff’s very own Imperator Furiosa could face charges for chasing after a bag-snatcher and mowing him down with her Tazz. That it was a woman from the Bluff doesn’t surprise me. Rough area, rough people. But who knew a Tazz was even capable of such things? It was fully airborne at one point. If I were Toyota, I’d do an ad along the lines of Mad Max: Fury Road, with angry Tazz-driving locals hunting down the baddies and knocking them over like rotten human skittles.
When ordinary people feel threatened, the fight-or-flight response kicks in. Sandy-Lee Ward chose both.
Her example of citizens taking matters into their own hands reminded me of a clip I saw of Thabo Mbeki recently. My first surprise was to see that he was still alive. He just goes on and on and on, in every sense. Worse than Kissinger. My second surprise was that he was actually making sense. No quoting from the ancient Greeks. No Shakespearean references. Just plain old common sense.
“Here we have this receding power of the state, its loss of authority and credibility, its inability to translate plans into action … this is where South Africa’s greatest opportunity for the future is to be found, in its innovative and resilient private sector and civil society, which are solving problems in the growing absence of the state and doing so successfully,” he croaked.
I was up on my feet, cheering as if Handre Pollard had just won us the World Cup.
“In years to come, South Africa will become a case study of how private initiative succeeds where states fail,” he warbled. This was truly visionary stuff. A glimmer of long-dormant hope sparked in my sunken chest.
Then he went and ruined it all.
“In political science, this is characterised as a counter-revolution, and a counter-revolution is … a direct threat to our democratic state and the welfare and wellbeing of millions of our people.”
I hadn’t seen a good thing go bad this quickly since Jacob Zuma was elected president.
One minute he’s telling us that we the people can save ourselves from the ravages of the criminally incompetent cartel running this country, and the next, he warns that this will make the Guptas seem like humanitarians in comparison.
Google cleared up my confusion. The giddy old goat had been quoting Dr John Endres, the CEO of the South African Institute of Race Relations. Or, as some people would have it, the political wing of the South African chapter of the Proud Boys.
Truth is, the country is alive with people who are more honest, competent and harder working than the treacherous slothbags steering the good ship RSA toward a very rocky shore.
Sure, the general populace is also awash in shiftless cretins who’d sooner rob their grandmothers than do an honest day’s work, but the ANC has set the bar very low.
Also, if the ANC represents the revolution, then let the counter-revolution begin. What’s that? You’re right behind me? That’s the problem with the private sector. There are no elections. Who is going to lead this counter-revolution? Not me. Mbeki has made it sound like a treasonous endeavour and I can’t afford to hire Dali Mpofu to drag my trial out until I die of natural causes.
Many of us will agree that we absolutely need to prise the functions of government from the cold, dead hands of the public service. It has already begun. The homeless are directing traffic. Communities are filling in potholes. People are installing solar rather than paying Eskom.
There are many things you can do. For a start, stop complaining about the poor service at state hospitals. Spend a few hours on YouTube learning how to be a doctor and treat yourself and your friends. Turn your spare room into a surgery. Doctors pretend that you need a degree to do operations. You don’t. All you need is an internet connection. Don’t feel guilty that you’re putting state doctors out of work. They’re all going to end up in New Zealand anyway.
That’s just one example. I have others. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not advocating the wholesale privatisation of services that the government can’t or won’t provide. That would make things accessible to the elite only, and I’m no friend of the elite. Mainly because they won’t allow me to join their exclusive club.
Our small but perfectly formed ex-president began wrapping up his speech to the SA Association of Public Administration and Management by referring to the consequences of an incapable state increasingly being bypassed.
“What must be done to avoid that catastrophic eventuality?” asked the ancient philosopher king.
“Here we go!” I shouted. “Finally, someone in the ANC has a solution!”
Thabo stroked his moustache, nodded wisely, thanked everyone for listening and tottered off in search of a strong whisky.
His speech, much like his term in office, started well and ended badly. I can’t think of a more suitable metaphor for South Africa.