Can someone please tell the new president of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, that the country he has just been elected to lead is in tatters? The earlier he gets notified of the economic problems on ground the better for us all. He doesn’t have the luxury of time to dance to the praise-singers and ululations around him; the ship of state quivers. Not until nameless drones start traversing our airspace or bombs litter our neighborhoods do we get to know that our situation is precarious. We do not wait for a total system collapse before discerning that this country faces tough challenges. For years indexes of development have stalled thereby relegating our country to a shithole status.
Welcome on board Mr Cyril. He is graciously allowed a honeymoon period of only one month to gather a formidable team together. The nation needs men of character and integrity to work with him at these perilous times. The new leader is allowed a tiny margin of error, excusable on account of the air of disunity surrounding the outgoing president’s resignation.
Those who know Cyril must tell him that he has just stepped into the driver’s seat of a country where more than half of its 55 million citizens live in grinding poverty; a country where some wake up in the morning and have nowhere in mind to make a living; a country where breakfast is scanty, yet there is no idea where lunch or dinner will come from.
Please hammer it into Cyril’s ears that the country whose leadership he has just assumed has criminals killing people on a daily basis. Whether on the highway, in the malls or in the shacks, human lives have become cheaper than a bottle of Fanta. Hoodlums take lives just to retrieve mobile phones from the deceased, which they will sell for fifty rand in a bid to smoke hemp. The sheer number of people losing their lives in domestic violence or street crimes makes one cringe. In a country where there is no war, almost 15 000 got killed in 2016. How many people died in the war in Syria?
Please tell Cyril that more than half of grade-four students are unable to understand what they are taught in schools and 30% of them can’t read or write at all. They only go the classes to look at the chalkboard. Their future is already affected because they are not able to visualize how the lessons affect their present or future lives. Such pupils are far behind, compared to their peers in other climes. This problem has multiplier effects as they progress to the higher grades. At a time they are supposed to be thinking critically on new concepts, they will start making sense of lessons they learnt several years back.
Cyril must know that unemployment in the country is almost 30%. That means close to ten million citizens are unproductive and underutilised. Universities produce graduates who are merely job-seekers and not entrepreneurs. Many of the so-called eligible job-seekers are even unemployable. Companies would rather hire them as interns to train. And a good number are not even qualified to be interns. Little wonder crime rate is on the increase. High-school leavers are generally unskilled. Majority of them can’t gain access to the universities because of financial leprosy or whatever reasons. Those with prospects of attending a university or a college are even lucky; more than half of kids who register from grade one end up dropping out before Matric.
Please reiterate to Cyril that there is no water in Cape Town? He needs to be told that lack of water in such a modern city affects the country’s GDP. Companies are folding up because of water-related problems. That, in turn, sends many back to the job market. It is just the beginning of the anticipated problems this issue might bring about, the full extent of which we can’t yet fathom. It is Cape Town today; we don’t know which city would be affected tomorrow. The country needs a permanent solution to the perennial water crises.
Do tell Cyril that morality in this country is on a steep decline. With abandon, teachers abuse and impregnate students they are supposed to mentor. They make their students sexual experiments and sometime walk away scot-free. High school students, no matter how underage, find solace in the hands of their randy teachers for economic reasons. Eligible school-goers stay away from classes solely due to lack of access to sanitary towels. Senior high-school students seem to make it an option whether to sit for Matric or get a baby. The situation is so rampant one would think getting pregnant in the higher grades is part of the curriculum. Primary school students have since taken a cue; they, too, either come to school with big tummies or drop out because of that. Adolescent girls see it as a fad to date their grandfather’s age mates; even calling them complimentary names like Blessers or Aristos.
Whoever knows Cyril must emphasize that the future leaders of tomorrow are smoking their lives away. While he discusses the constitution in the union buildings or Luthuli house, those who will take over his seat in future are smoking nyaope, zol, dagga, hashish and all whatnots. As the president of the country, he is a father to all. Fixing drugs-related problems must be a priority for the incoming leader.
Can someone please send Cyril an SMS that his daughters are opening their legs too fast? By daughters, I mean the bulk of the young girls across the country. With nine million fatherless children in South Africa, will he be leading a nation of fatherless and hyper likely aggressive (scientifically-proved) future leaders? That figure is more than half the population of Zimbabwe. If he doesn’t stem the tide, he might realise that in future the entire cabinets of ministers are blood-related; and state matters would become family problems.
Please bring it to Cyril’s attention that corruption is killing this country and his beloved ANC is shamelessly complicit. They have made overnight millionaires of tender-preneurs. People who have no idea how to build wealth suddenly have access to it just by having an uncle or an aunt in the ruling party’s top hierarchy. Little wonder they squander money all over the place, buying unneeded cars and throwing purposeless parties for their sexual partners.
Government contracts are hardly merit-based these days. State-owned-enterprises are now enclaves of scandals. Citizens no longer have faith that basic services can reach them. That the state is captured is no news. Cronies to politicians corner government contracts at will. And female public servants open doors to the state coffers to their Ben-10 boyfriends. Needless to mention names here. The problem permeates the entire strata of government – from the municipality to the national level. And it’s so widespread from Kwazulu-Natal to the Western Cape; Gauteng to the Free State, the situation remains the same. Corruption, Cyril must know, doesn’t know race. Those who steal from the coffers are the least racially-biased.
Cyril must know that Organs of state who are saddled with the task of monitoring malfeasance are themselves compromised. Men in uniform look away when serious atrocities are committed. Convicted criminals rise in their ranks and nothing is done to weed them out. Illiterates are hired as policemen just to make the numbers. The question may well be asked: When a policeman can’t read or write, how will he understand statements of complaints from the public? How is he supposed to take steps to fight crime, which, in recent times, has taken a more sophisticated form?
Someone should please have a dialogue with Cyril that the vast lands in the country are not in the hands of the majority – that being blacks. Agitation for change of ownership has recently reached crescendo. But then, if he desires to recover lands without compensation what are the new owners going to do with it? Can the majority of black people make productive use of the vast lands? Do we have the skills necessary to create abundant wealth from it? If so, Cyril should look into the matter and hasten the redistribution. It would be foolhardy to hand over lands to less productive owners. The Zimbabwean example speaks loud to our consciousness. An unstable economy is the last thing South Africa needs at the moment. We just can’t shoulder the pain that come with it. The new president must put on a thinking cap.
Highlight to Cyril that the whites of this country are scared of their future in this multi-ethnic nation. They want stability and predictability in government affairs. They want accountable governance just like the blacks desire. Whether long-nosed or flat-nosed the country is home to everyone; there must be equity and justice. Racial tension rears its ugly heads often and mostly for the wrong reasons and, painfully, from the wrong quarters. What happened to the rainbow nation Nelson Mandela so tireless worked for? Whither the dreams of the forebears of the land? Cyril owes us a duty to unify and integrate the citizens of this country. People must curtail the rhetoric of division. Inequalities breed crime and disillusionment. Only in the atmosphere of peace can the citizens thrive.
That late sage, Nelson Mandela said, and I repeat thus: “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.” They will try to derail the new president from achieving set goals; but consistency and integrity takes on far.
Indeed, I congratulate comrade Cyril for clinching the position of the president of the country, even if I do not envy his burdened shoulders. The issues plaguing the land at the moment are so humongous even an experienced negotiator like him will shudder at the extent of the rot. But we are hopeful his track records will guide him through the murky waters.
Eventually, he will be judged down the line by how well he is able to steer the ship of state through these trying times. And, just as earlier said, he has a tiny margin of error to stumble. And if, just as the outgoing Jacob Zuma, he’s deemed lacking in integrity or unfit to take the people out of the prevalent doldrums, he would be condemned to the dustbin of history with a taint – the nature of which we can’t tell for now. If that happens, these people laughing and singing his praises at the moment will wield a big stick to castigate him and turn their backs like they did to Thabo Mbeki and lately, Jacob Zuma. Do tell Cyril: the clock has begun to tick and we are watching with baited breadth.