What it means for me to be South African for 67 minutes out of one day of every year, or every day for that matter.
After 18 years of commemorative chest beating by the ruling party, I still see that over 20 million people live below the R10 per day breadline. But the ruling elite live in the most opulent luxury our taxes can buy.
Millions of youth have no jobs, partly because the economy is not growing and partly because their education does not qualify them to do anything, other than be unemployed in despair of ever finding jobs. Ministers and mayors and other functionaries of the ruling party think nothing of voting themselves 34% annual increases though.
Thousands of youths have been denied an education for several years due to Education Department mismanagement and corruption, including inter alia the failure to provide textbooks and teachers with suitable qualifications. The ruling elite live off education tenders and send their children to private schools at taxpayers’ expense.
There are more people killed by HIV annually than in the imperialist war in Iran and Afghanistan which are active war zones. The hospitals which could help the fight against HIV are for the most part dilapidated and neglected, understaffed and ill-equipped. The fight against HIV is relegated to a minor irritation as long as the elite can spend tax money on test kits that don’t work. Incidentally the Elite State Employees Medical Aid is the best in the world. They would not be seen dead in a State Hospital.
A woman is raped in South Africa every 27 seconds. This is the rape capital of the world; despite civil society efforts to reduce these horrific acts, the police are not inclined to direct their efforts to this. Social workers and NGO’s relate incidents where the police join in gang rapes instead of stopping them, in many cases they partner with the pimps and human traffickers for profit. The elite have platoons of bodyguards, 16 000 thugs in uniform to protect the 3000 or so kleptocrats who voted themselves these privileges.
The South African economy is dying a slow death, while companies hoard large cash reserves, estimated between R500 Billion to R1.2 Trillion reluctant to invest in the economy, due to the inherent instability of the current government, for want of a better less flattering word. Foreign companies and investors are not interested in investing in South Africa anymore. A combination of racist employment policies and extreme government corruption has effectively driven away most Foreign Direct Investment. The corrupt political elite continue to try to gouge more revenue out of a shrinking economic pool.
Any economic growth is stymied by a phalanx of racist laws designed to discriminate against 8% of the population, which in turn has led to a reduction of vital skills in South Africa, as people of undesirable races, chose to take their skills abroad. Corruption is the order of the day, in State as well as private companies with as much as 25% of GDP lost to corruption. This represents enough to provide every South African with free education to tertiary level, free health care for life, longer than the current 42 years average life expectancy, and free public transport in all areas.
Every South African should spend the next 67 minutes thinking on how best to correct the wrongs which our legacy has bestowed upon us all.