Wednesday, April 21, 2010

South Africans paying the price for years of delusional and denial-based 'positivity thinking'

I wrote this article in 2008, and the predictions in it have come back to roost. Here's a snippet:

During a recent BBC interview* he was asked by Fergal Keane: "Are you a crook?"
Zuma replied: "Well, I don't know, I must go to a dictionary and learn what a crook is."
Keane responded: "Somebody who takes money from other people for corrupt purposes."
Zuma: "Have I ever done so?"
Keane: "I'm asking you."

Zuma is currently being investigated and facing court dates on multiple corruption charges. The anticorruption unit that gathered evidence for these trials (known locally as the Scorpions) has since been shut down.

Citizens who do not hold corrupt leaders (in business, sports or politics) accountable cannot blame their leaders for their country's woes. South Africa's lazy complacency -- disguised as "being positive" -- is likely to cost them dearly.
The danger in being dismissive of, for example, a state-run institution's inability to provide basic services is that one runs the real risk of never solving or even understanding the problem to begin with. South Africans are notorious for remaining cocooned in their communities, for not stepping out and stepping up as a forceful voice of solidarity. In South Africa the buck never stops and neither does the blaming.

South Africa's police commissioner (and also the head of Interpol) has been arrested for corruption and obstruction of justice. He is believed to have links to organized crime in the country. Even so, Commissioner Jackie Selebi's picture still hangs in police stations nationwide, not because he is a wanted man (ostensibly), but because he is/was the head of law enforcement in the country.
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