We need a shift in mindset

We need a shift in mindset

Katlehong Primary School in Ekurhuleni. Angry residents set fire to the school building during protests against power cuts. PHOTO: Supplied - Panyaza Lesufi/Twitter

How can you maintain the law if you have no order to begin with? On paper we may have laws, but in reality we have a country that runs on autopilot.

The community of Katlehong was ever so upset with the Gauteng government that they thought it would be best to torch a school, an amenity that serves the very community they reside in.

Here was the logic: we, as a community are enraged even that there is an electricity crisis, let’s protest by burning the school that educates us. If they cannot hear us they will at the least see the smoke that we will send as our protest tool.

True to form, Panyaza Lesufi said what the rest of the country was thinking. Why repair, at great expense, what was intentionally damaged?

In the mindset of mob mentality we cannot reason about acceptance of responsibility when we know that criminal elements mask themselves as angry members of a protesting community.

But why do we not seek alternative ways – open dialogue, for one – in order to problem-solve?

While the class of 1976 advocated for quality and equal education, they took to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs.

Who, then, are these people who have resorted to the lighting of fires, the destruction of property and the obvious delay of township improvement?

If we are to repair or replace the infrastructure damaged or destroyed because of a deliberate act, someone needs to shoulder the blame.

The communities are up in arms when the smoke has died down and life must continue, when they must face the consequences of others actions.

In a time where social platforms are the new ombudsman, one would think members of the public would understand that there are avenues to explore, yet schools are burning.

A few months ago I heard someone on the radio say that what South Africa needed was to operate on the principle of not law and order, but of order and law.

This has stayed with me.

How can you maintain the law if you have no order to begin with? On paper we may have laws, but in reality we have a country that runs on autopilot.

It’s time for a fundamental shift in mindset.

Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo.

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