The country of South Africa, which encompasses the southern region of Africa, consistently portrays a picture of self-destruction and this is a vitally important lesson for Africa. Is there a responsibility of South Africa toward the African Continent? African nations on the continent often complain about the arrogance of the South African people who act as if they are superior. The United Nations in their dealings with the South African Defense Force members complain about their arrogant attitude.
Could it be that the African continent’s economies are being held back by the sluggish growth prevalent in South Africa? Corruption is spiralling out of control in this country. Whilst the South African President is being implicated in many irregularities, his indiscretions seem to be way smaller than under his predecessor.
South Africa’s first democratic President Mandela inherited a functioning civil service. After the Mandela reign, President Mbeki inherited a working civil service but already the cracks began to appear under his leadership. During President Mbeki’s term, there was a concerted effort to purge the civil service of competence, irrespective of black or white. The ruling President Zuma inherited a dysfunctional civil service.
Today, young people believe that in order to become a millionaire, they must join and work in the civil service. This is simply because “entitlement” has become the popular catch phrase of the day. According to studies from the European Union, employees of the South African civil service are being paid, on average, twenty percent more than their European counterparts. The productivity of the South Africans is far behind that of the Europeans by a large margin. A real lesson for Africa – an indication of South African self destruction – can be taken from the crumbling civil service and the mismanagement of this important structure.
Is this the democracy everyone wanted for Mandela’s South Africa? No longer do the populace trust the courts and police. Various articles have been published about the regular police brutality and underhand dealings, yet the problem escalates. It appears as though every policeman in this day and age acts as a prosecutor, taking the law into their own hands. They claim that possible criminal charges are of a civil matter and refuse to register cases under the criminal administrative system. Police seem quite eager to assign one to an attorney who happens to be an appropriate contact. The justice system is in shambles because of corruption. The public cannot trust the system any longer.
Judges act as if they have preconceived notions. The Boeremag trial is a case in reference. When sixteen policemen from the Crime Intelligence unit trained selected Boeremag members and provided them with the explosives to commit crimes, the judge took no cognizance of this fact. Therefore, the question of whether the Boeremag actually was a justification for the police to commit atrocities and blame other people is not answered. Similarly, are the numerous drug bust operations by the police around the country a planned operation or a scheme run by the police?
The institution to protect the constitution in South Africa is clearly failing the country and its people. The public protector, Thuli Madonsela had been implicated in an over-payment – while she was a consultant to the Department of Justice – to the amount of R 1, 8 million rand. She investigated Bheki Cele, the former police commissioner on an issue pertaining to the unlawful and irregular rental of buildings for a new police head office. She failed to mention in public that her boyfriend at the time was a parent to Roux Shabangu, whom she was investigating. When she came under pressure in respect of the investigation into the irregular expenditure of Nkandla, the President’s homestead in KwaZulu Natal, she suddenly exposed two reports into Ministers Joemat Petterson, Minister of Fisheries and Dina Pule, ex Minister of Communications. The perception created in this regard is that she had withheld the reports for a rainy day. There is even more conclusive evidence about her interaction with this country’s dysfunctional and corruption-ridden intelligence services. This is the woman who has to help to protect the constitution?
The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has received considerable coverage regarding the inherent corruption going on in its ranks. Many of the military bases look as if they stem from a Mad Max movie. Broken toilets, poor meals, poor facilities, lack of maintenance of equipment are visible facts. Yet, these are the armed forces that must protect South Africa. Rumor has it that if the Zimbabwean military were to invade the country, they would arrive in Cape Town in record time due to the dysfunction of the SANDF. Whilst the SANDF contingent in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2013 numbered 200, they killed more than 1200 Seleka rebels. However, the Zimbabweans are another kettle of fish, and they have fuel for their fighter planes, and this cannot be said for the South Africans. Their expensive Gripen fighters are typically mothballed which has led to a new query.
The Intelligence service is facing an equally damning picture. The walls at their headquarters are dirty; the cement is crumbling away from the walls and the toilets remain dirty and broken. These are the people that must inform the political leadership about what is going on and what threats exist. To work under such conditions is not only shocking but it is undoubtedly becoming a serious health hazard.
South Africa is a country heading for self destruction and becoming a serious hindrance to the rest of Africa. Corruption and theft reign supreme. Intimidation and corruption are a trait of the government. South Africa has lost its shine, and it is not only becoming, but it already has come – to almost resemble of a cesspool; a backwater. South African politicians must take responsibility for all the failure of democracy. Both the governing party and opposition parties are equally guilty of this decay, and their failure to stop the destruction. South Africa’s self-destruction is a lesson for the rest of Africa.
Quo Vadis South Africa?
Editorial by Laura Oneale
City Press 1