How can we trust politicians?

President Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguration by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. EPA-EFE/Stringer

President Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguration by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. EPA-EFE/Stringer

The nation at large has been hoodwinked into believing there are politicians who care. How naive.

The euphoria that enveloped the presidential inauguration has given way to depression. That magic moment at Loftus Versfeld has been jinxed.

The word, hope, used by the president and prayed for by the clerics has become antonymic – hopeless, disbelief, distrust.

Promises of a clean Cabinet have remained just that. Empty.

Albert Luthuli, who would have been thrilled over the inaugural speeches, would now be thoroughly disgusted to witness the apparent shameless goings-on of suspects occupying the offices named after him.

Suspected thieves who not only plundered the state, but stole a farm earmarked for their own people. And robbed a bank established to assist the strugglers.

The nation at large has been hoodwinked into believing there are politicians who care. How naive. Since time immemorial, politicians have been suspect.

Way back in history, a slave called Aesop exclaimed: “We hang petty thieves and appoint thieves to public office.” Eina.

Plato, the Greek philosopher, said: “Those who are too smart to engage in politics [like us] are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”

American President Ronald Reagan admitted: “The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it.” Eina.

A visitor to a country for the first time summed up his impression thus: “On my arrival I was struck by the degree of ability among the governed and the lack of it among the governing.”

What country, I wonder.

Author Irving Stone further sums up our situation: “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become president; I’m beginning to believe it.”

In the light of these truisms, is there any hope that we’ll ever see clean governance? More jobs? Less crime? The corrupt behind bars? Better service delivery?

No, if we believe what author John Quinton has to say: “Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.”

Perhaps the collective prayers of the nation and clergy at the inauguration are still to be answered? Then, there’s still hope and light.

Cliff Buchler.

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