More of the same

By the time you read this the national election will probably have come and gone. If the pundits were right, President Cyril Ramaphosa will still be president. Or not. The ANC’s majority will have shrunk. Or not. The DA will be in charge of the Western Cape and Gauteng. Or not. The EFF will have grown in support. Or not.
And the ANC’s little band of criminals, dolts and bumblers in the form of Mesdames Dlamini, Mokonyane, and Joemat-Pettersson and Messrs Gigaba and Zwane (to name a few) will be headed back to parliament for another session of snoozing on the green leather benches after snouting around in the trough at taxpayers’ expense.
Having seen only one change of government in my lifetime I believe it’s too much to expect for anything radical to happen, even if the ANC’s thievery and ineptitude has been flayed open like a rotting carcass for all to see. So, no, the ANC won’t be unseated and it will remain to be seen whether President Ramaphosa emerges stronger (and therefore able to work against the remaining Zuma-ite faction of crooks and disruptors) or whether he emerges in a straight-up fight with the Zuma-ite faction, and therefore risks being unseated and replaced by another crook before his full tenure is up.
For one thing is for sure: it will be a little while yet before Adv Shamila Batohi has her ducks sufficiently in a row to prosecute those in high places who have been caught accepting Bosasa bribes and Gupta largesse. Eager to get on with the job she may be, but careless she is not and she will make sure she has watertight cases to present before she ventures before a judge, because she knows she will be up against some of the toughest and most ruthless legal brains in the country who will very quickly pick up on any weakness in her cases. And will tear her to shreds.
Thus, Batohi will be following the adage made famous by Col Robert Baden-Powell at the siege of Mafeking, namely “softly, softly catchee monkey” as she sets about her task.
So if we can’t expect a huge political shake up after the election, and if the wheels of justice continue to turn at snail’s pace, what can we look forward to? Not a lot, really. The economy won’t be recovering vigorously any time soon for a number of reasons. Firstly, you can’t expect the ANC to suddenly see the light and ditch its expensive socialist fiscal policies or inefficient labour policy or even to set about reducing the size of the bloated government, oversized cabinet etc. Secondly, the government doesn’t have the money even to pay for what it’s set out to pay for at the moment, such as fee free higher education and the social grant, even if corruption and wasteful expenditure were to stop dead tomorrow.
So there’s no pile of cash available to pump into major infrastructure developments that would boost the civil engineering sector and mop up a lot of unemployment, for example. Thirdly, no foreigner in his or her right mind is going to look at substantial private investment in South Africa while two of three major ratings agencies have us rated as junk.
Fourthly, the agriculture sector remains in trouble as a result of ongoing drought, which bodes ill for food prices, and thus for inflation, and uncertainty over expropriations.
And I can go on. At the heart of our ills are the security situation and unemployment, which are linked, because if more young men had decent jobs fewer would be inclined to hijack, rob and murder.
But at the heart of the unemployment problem is that many unemployed are unemployable, because our woeful education system has not equipped them (and continues to not equip them) with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform even the most basic tasks.
But turning out young workers educated with skills to make them employable requires fixing the education system, which in turn means training up and skilling a whole new generation of teachers. Which will necessitate re-opening the teacher training colleges we used to have (another folly of the ANC in closing them).
And even if there was the money available to do that (which there isn’t ~ see above), it’s a process that in itself will take years.
And so the merry-go-round will continue to turn, and the best we as citizens can hope for is that the sun continues to shine, the rain continues to fall when it should, that we continue as individuals and families to love and laugh and enjoy good health. And that, in four, eight or twelve years’ time the electorate chooses a government with the right credentials, drive and morals to make this country as great as it really could be.

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