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6 September 2001

Out to Lunch 

This week I'm quoting a regular column from the Sunday Times. Yes it is called Out To Lunch and the author is one David Bullard who's been doing this column for years.
The reason I'm doing this is to show that my rantings and criticism of our black government is not an only viewpoint but also a national one.

Herewith extracts of his writings as it appeared in the Sunday Times on September 2 :

Dishonesty in public life ought to be punished as treason

Politicians are seen as self-serving opportunists everywhere in the world and that's generally because that is exactly what they are. South African politicians like to believe that attacks on them must be motivated by racism, in truth, criticism has very little to do with skin colour.
Scumbags come in all colours and when the people see their leaders burying their snouts in the trough, ducking and diving whenever they are asked reasonable questions and appointing their friends and family to influential positions, they become disillusioned with the democratic process.
Unfortunately the dishonest and arrogant behaviour of the few gives the rest a bad name.
There will always be those for whom public office is seen as an opportunity for personal enrichment rather than a chance to make a real difference to the development and growth of South Africa.
The worrying thing is not just that their behaviour is tolerated but that the ruling party is prepared to close ranks to protect them, which does absolutely nothing for Parlaiments' credibility or the country's reputation. How often has the public exposure of some malfeasance resulted in a lame internal inquiry and the convenient removal of the embarrassing incident from the pages of our newspapers?
It has become abundantly clear over the past seven years the the intellectual demands of Parlaiment are beyond many of it's members.
There are some senior MP's who are a disgrace and it is in South Africa's long-term interest that such people are removed from office immediately.
I think it's time to reconsider the crime of treason, defined as "the violation or betrayal of the allegiance that a person owes his country". Let us take the case of the ANC Chief Whip Tony Yengeni, as an example.
The Sunday TImes revealed details of Yengeni's luxury 4x4 several months ago. Yengeni still hasn't adequately explained the unusual procurement and financing details of the vehicle. It may be that there is a reasonable explanation but we have yet to hear it. Until we do, the ANC has a huge question mark hanging over its claims to espouse "transparency".
Meanwhile the Yengeni case, among others, is well known to foreign observers and helps to reinforce the country's image of a basket-case in waiting. It is impossible to put a price to the damage done to South Africa's standing by the controversy surrounding arms deal, the frequent "cover-ups" of political incompetency and the many incidents of dishonesty and lack of accountability.
All these are acts of treason in some form and should be punished as such.

Now that is shooting from the hip! If this was a speech I'm sure he would've received a standing ovation. I was wandering whatever happened to the cars "organised" for senior officials involved in the arms deal. Yes, we haven't heard a thing yet, and how long ago was that?

In the meantime the ANC and their tri-party alliance with COSATU doesn't seem to be going too well. COSATU opposes governments' privatisation plan for fear of members loosing their jobs. We've seen COSATU claiming major success with their two-day strike last week against privatisation with government responding with official absenteeism figures of way less what COSATU claims. To back government figures, I must say that only about twenty percent of our workforce were absent. Of course there is a strict policy of "no work no pay". And amazingly it was the Zulu's who all pitched for work. No, we're not a government company, but as with all strikes people either sympathise with the cause (or family/friends involved) or they get intimidated into attending. Ignorance also plays a big role as in the case of a recent "ethics training" for teachers by the Department of Education and the South African Council for Educators.

Teachers (who are supposed to be educated) were shocked to find out that "love affairs" between teachers and pupils is a dismissable offence! Apparently this is rife in our schools.

And we trust these people with our children?