Lack of political leadership

Johan van Zyl, Gordon’s Bay

I frequently enter into a debate with myself after viewing television footage of destructive demonstrations by township dwellers, often leading to the looting of innocent shopkeepers’ businesses, and the wanton destruction of infrastructure necessary for the very same service delivery the demonstrators supposedly agitate about.

I can’t help woefully considering all the municipal structures, vehicles and train coaches recently lost to the kind of criminality spawned by these protests.

I dislike sharing these concerns with friends and family, because such conversations ultimately lead to heated displeasure at the state of affairs and cause blood pressures to rise. The lament we inevitably end up with, is “Why oh why can’t we have peace in this country?”

Of course the umbrella cause of the ructions is, deplorably, the lack of political leadership our country is experiencing. Or rather, it is that the leadership we have is wilfully aiming at polarisation of the various cultural groups for political gain.

I find the content of political speeches sadly lacking in creative solution-finding initiative.

More often than not, fingers are pointed at the white minority, scapegoats are identified to draw the attention away from own blunders in decision making.

Philosophies like colonialism are decried as if earlier policies are still prevalent in society.

Much also is made by politicians about racism.

This is a phenomenon found worldwide (not just in SA), and while I agree unfeeling manifestations of racism should be discouraged by politicians and the public, I believe freedom of expression and association must prevail.

This is all part of our admiral quest for justice and equality.

However, reading the papers I am amazed at how swiftly remarks of ordinary people are selectively branded as racist: the prime unspeakable horror.

I’m saying we should guard against embarking on witch-hunts and exacting dire punishments in court, like in the Penny Sparrow case.

Words do not speak louder than acts, therefore loose talk should not be viewed as seriously as the actual execution of a heinous crime.

In comparison to the recent unfortunate utterings of a certain official, the rape and murder of an innocent young jogger in a wood is indeed an unspeakable horror.

Do I read in the media that it has been labelled accordingly?

The abduction and mutilation of a small child is a horrendous atrocity.

Where is the corresponding outcry by politicians?

Examples of despicable behaviour abounds. Rampant gang warfare in many of our neighbourhoods force innocents to live in constant terror.

This still goes unchecked, and leniency towards this type of hooliganism certainly is a travesty of justice. Need I go further?

I find myself yearning for a time in our political history when things were better. Were they ever better?

Were they ever worse?