Changing Everything but Fixing Little

Two days ago, Andrew Donaldson suggests Tito wants to rename South Africa. I guess that’s not the first time we’ve heard something like that. Right this very week-end various players are rushing around in Tshwane/Pretoria re-changing street names. Towns, villages, cities and airports are renamed. We have Government Ministers being changed back, forward and sideways. We have changes to the Pensions Act and changes in newspaper ownership using government pension money. (I wonder if the Pension Act changes will free up some more money to change the media playing field a bit more).

The amount of enthusiasm displayed in changing these things is admirable. It suggests that, where really meaningful matters are involved, such as beefing up our passenger rail services, moving tonnes of water and fodder to where it is needed or shifting the State educational system into a higher gear, then we will see some amazingly impressive achievements. The thought and energy consumed in switching Ministers and fighting legal appeals suggests that when it comes to the big stuff, really moving the country forward, we would have produced a South Africa loaded with well educated young men and women, vast numbers of well-built houses, built by well trained new artisans. Water treatment plants and reticulation systems would surely be in the efficient and effective hands of well trained and motivated apprentices and journeymen. But no- !

Instead a ton of money is being spent on connected people trotting off to Davos this week, or some other jamboree next week, to tell the world what a great investment destination the New (Yet to renamed) South Africa is. Those who hear the stories may well ask why they should invest tonnes of money into a country that fails to manage it’s teachers, fails to select leaders who understand international money markets, and where the nest-egg they invested could loose 20% of its value overnight. Having new names for towns and streets does not match the persuasive power of up-to-date electricity systems, of a fully functional education system and law-abiding government and citizenry. And the sight of wasteful opulence as allowed or encouraged by the Parliamentary handbook on salaries and perks is telling an equally discouraging story.

What the world needs to see here is a citizenry voting for really knowledgeable people to govern the land and put the resources to work for all who live here.


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