Dear Government

Here’s something that is probably going to be talked about a lot around the braai fires in the next few weeks. Gareth Cliff wrote the following letter to our SA government and I couldn’t agree more. What do you think?

Dear Government

OK, I get it, the President isn’t the only one in charge. The ANC believes in “collective responsibility” (So that nobody has to get blamed when things get screwed up), so I address this to everyone in government – the whole lot of you – good, bad and ugly (That’s you, Blade).

We were all so pleased with your renewed promises to deliver services (we’ll forgive the fact that in some places people are worse off than in 1994); to root out corruption (so far your record is worse than under Mbeki, Mandela or the Apartheid regime – what with family members becoming overnight millionaires); and build infrastructure (State tenders going disgustingly awry and pretty stadia standing empty notwithstanding) – and with the good job you did when FIFA were telling you what to do for a few months this year. Give yourselves half a pat on the back. Since President Sepp went off with his billions I’m afraid we have less to be proud of – Public Servants Strikes, more Presidential bastard children, increasing unemployment and a lack of leadership that allowed the Unions to make the elected government it’s bitch. You should be more than a little worried – but you’re not. Hence my letter. Here are some things that might have passed you by:

1. You have to stop corruption. Don’t stop it because rich people moan about it and because it makes poor people feel that you are self-enriching parasites of state resources, but because it is a disease that will kill us all. It’s simple – there is only so much money left to be plundered. When that money runs out, the plunderers will raise taxes, chase and drain all the remaining cash out of the country and be left with nothing but the rotting remains of what could have been the greatest success story of post-colonial Africa. It’s called corruption because it decomposes the fabric of society. When someone is found guilty of corruption, don’t go near them – it’s catchy. Making yourself rich at the country’s expense is what colonialists do.

2. Stop complaining about the media. You’re only complaining about them because they show you up for how little you really do or care. If you were trying really hard, and you didn’t drive the most expensive car in the land, or have a nephew who suddenly went from modesty to ostentatious opulence, we’d have only positive things to report. Think of Jay Naidoo, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi and Zwelinzima Vavi – they come under a lot of fire, but it’s never embarrassing – always about their ideas, their positions, and is perfectly acceptable criticism for people in power to put up with. When the media go after Blade Nzimande, Siphiwe Nyanda and the President, they say we need a new piece of legislation to “make the media responsible”. That’s because they’re being humiliated by the facts we uncover about them daily, not because there is an agenda in some newsroom. If there had been a free press during the reigns of Henry VIII, Idi Amin or Hitler, their regimes might just have been kept a little less destructive, and certainly would have been less brazen and unchecked.

3. Education is a disaster. We’re the least literate and numerate country in Africa. Zimbabwe produces better school results and turns out smarter kids than we do. Our youth aren’t usemployed, they’re unemployable. Outcomes-based-education, Teachers’ Unions and an attitude of mediocrity that discourages excellence have reduced us to a laughing stock. Our learners can’t spell, read, add or subtract. What are all these people going to do? Become President? There’s only one job like that. We need clever people, not average or stupid ones. the failure of the Education Department happened under your watch. Someone who writes Matric now hadn’t even started school under the Apartheid regime, so you cannot blame anyone but yourselves for this colossal cock-up. Fix it before three-quarters of our matrics end up begging on Oxford Road. Reward schools and teachers who deliver great pass rates and clever students into the system. Fire the teachers who march and neglect their classrooms.

4. Give up on BEE. It isn’t working. Free shares for new black partnerships in old white companies has made everyone poorer except for Tokyo Sexwale. Giving people control of existing business won’t make more jobs either. In fact, big companies aren’t growing, they’re reducing staff and costs. The key is entrepreneurship. People with initiative, creative ideas and small companies must be given tax breaks and assistance. Young black professionals must be encouraged to start their own businesses rather than join a big corporation’s board as their token black shareholder or director. Government must also stop thinking that state employment is a way to decrease unemployment – it isn’t – it’s a tax burden. India and China are churning out new, brilliant, qualified people at a rate that makes us look like losers. South Africa has a proud history of innovation, pioneering and genius. This is the only way we can advance our society and economy beyond merely coping.

5. Stop squabbling over power. Offices are not there for you to occupy (or be deployed to) and aggrandize yourself. Offices in government are there to provide a service. If you think outrageous salaries, big German cars, first-class travel and state housing are the reasons to aspire to leadership, you’re in the wrong business – you should be working for a dysfunctional, tumbledown parastatal (or Glenn Agliotti). We don’t care who the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces is if we don’t have running water, electricity, schools and clean streets. You work for us. Do your job, don’t imagine you ARE your job.

6. Stop renaming things. Build new things to name. If I live in a street down which the sewage runs, I don’t care if it’s called Hans Strijdom or Malibongwe. Calling it something nice and new won’t make it smell nice and new. Re-branding is something Cell C do with Trevor Noah, not something you can whitewash your lack of delivery with.

7. Don’t think you’ll be in power forever. People aren’t as stupid as you think we are. We know you sit around laughing about how much you get away with. We’ll take you down, either at the polls – or if it comes down to the wire – by revolution (Yes, Julius, the real kind, not the one you imagine happened in 2008). Careless, wasteful and wanton government is a thing of the past. The days of thin propaganda and idealized struggle are over. The people put you in power – they will take you out of it. Africa is tired of tin-pot dictators, one-party states and banana republics. We know who we are now, we care about our future – and so should you.

G

Source: www.garethcliff.com

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8 Responses to “Dear Government”

  1. 25 October 2010 at 10:52 #

    Pity the general population cannot read this due to at least one of the above problems, now how to get the country to vote responsibly I wonder…?

    • bwkling
      25 October 2010 at 11:00 #

      I agree! I suppose only time will convince the general public to vote responsibly.

  2. 25 October 2010 at 11:00 #

    Well said Gareth Cliff. You covered just about every point that needed covering. I would just add to the two successful countries mentioned: India and China, South Korea. On Special Assignment last week there was a very enlightening comparison between SA and S.Korea. The Korean have got it right it would seem in both education and patriotism. I suggest we get outside help to get this country running properly and I`d look to India, China and South Korea for that assistance….if they`re interested that is, of course.

    • bwkling
      25 October 2010 at 11:05 #

      I hope Gareth’s letter does indeed motivate the government to take proactive action and look for help if need be.

  3. 25 October 2010 at 15:07 #

    A good letter, covers pretty much everything without pulling punches, but will it go to govt., will it be read by anyone in govt. or is it just published where a few of us will read it? The ANC is probably right that they will govern forever because the semi-literate and the illiterate will continue to vote them in simply because they are the ANC.

  4. 26 October 2010 at 01:29 #

    if I would substitute a few names, the same thing is the situation in my country, the USA.
    And the same solutions are possible. We must all vote to save our nations from corruption, and errosion of freedom.

  5. Paul Hendrik Stephanus Mostert
    23 September 2012 at 10:10 #

    Here’s some more things like how how in the world could 9% white’s have more jobs than Blacks because if that is true there must be less than 9% jobs in the country but here some more qoutes:-
    It is an amazing fact that SA Breweries successfully, weekly, deliver liquor to over 800,000 Shabeens
    acros s South Africa…….. But the SA Government can’t deliver text books to 26,000 s chools once a year.
    If only SA breweries and the Government would swap delivery methods, we could have a civilised, sober,
    and educated country.
    *This is a quote from the London Times. Affirmative action: “South Africa is the only country in the World
    where affirmative action is in the favour of the majority who has political control. The fact that the political
    majority requires affirmative action to protect themselves against a 9% minority group is proof to a
    complete failure on their part to build their own wealth making structures, such that their only option is to
    take it from others.

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