South Africa a Dirty Economy (in more ways than one)

21 November 2011

In a Cape Times primer on COP17, South Africa is today described as being a large and dirty economy, this referring to our reliance on fossil fuels for power generation.  Seventy-percent of our power generation is from coal, and around 50% of the produced electricity goes to the mines and the aluminium smelters.  South Africa’s biggest skills remain digging stuff out of the ground!  Options to relieve the demand on coal as our primary energy source continue to be offset by those who believe that wind and solar offer a viable alternative that can support continued economic growth in the short to medium term.  Of course they perpetuate these myths safe in the knowledge that they do not have to prove their statements.

On another level, we watch our ruling party ripping itself to shreds, attacking itself a bit like an autoimmune disease going haywire.  There is scant regard for the opinions of the party elders and anyone daring to speak out of concern (e.g. the late Kader Asmal, Desmond Tutu and now Ronnie Kasrils) is blasted with vitriol and irrational verbal abuse the moment they open their mouths. Nelson Mandela must find all this an utterly depressing way to spend his last years!

Almost weekly we see another “pillar” of the ANC society being implicated in some or other corruption scandal.  Seventeen-odd years ago the ANC were granted a unique opportunity to do something really amazing with South Africa, yet they chose to excel at corruption at the expense of almost everything else – one estimate putting the cost at R675 billion per annum!  Professionalism and moral ethics in traditionally uncorruptible professions, such as the supposedly independent judiciary, have debased the justice system to a massive extent, and continue to do so.  The “Hlophe incident can wait till April 2012” is just one example of how the finger is given to good governance.  And the list goes on.  This is not the deeply insightful, deep thinking and honourable ANC that everyone was led to believe existed. This is a bunch of novices playing at being in power with scant regard for the quality of the legacy they leave behind. Is this what the founders of the ANC would have wanted to see??

Regrettably the opposition, while steadfastly pointing out the errors of their opponents, appear to have nothing tangible to offer or suggest that they could do any better!  Or, if they do, they are keeping very quiet about it.  We do not see detailed critiques or statements of “if we were in power we would do it this way” examples.  Instead, we see prominent leaders of the DA defending curious statements about AIDs.

The big problem is how does the country receive good and diligent governance while all this is going on.  There are now so many “leaders” on suspension or suspicion that one wonders how any of them can devote time to their appointed tasks while covering their backs against the accusations.  None have yet had the moral fortitude to resign of their own volition pending the clearing of their good names.

The problem is:  how does the country receive good governance while the rulers are in such disarray?  Something, lots of things, must be falling by the wayside, to the detriment of the entire nation.  ANC beware, the failed state scenario is not too far away!

Droplets asks again, “Ubuntu, what is that exactly?”

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