It is a sad indictment of the moral decay of our society – and its increasing venality – that politically connected murders in KwaZulu-Natal have almost become a way of life for people in that province.
Because this country’s entire political structure is built on the foundations of patronage, many office bearers and party members belonging to the ANC in KZN are entirely reliant, for their subsistence, on the success of the particular faction in the organisation they support.
Jobs at grassroots level, as well as in provincial and national government, often hinge on this. And those competing for such positions realise they are qualified for the posts only by their connections. They have no alternatives, so they are prepared to do what is necessary – up to and including killing opponents – to ensure their way to a cushy job is kept open.
This “politics of survival” – as one political analyst has described it – is worrying because it leads to increasing bloodshed and the perpetuation of the belief that violence is a solution to a person’s problems.
However, maintaining the ruinous “cadre deployment” system, which is at the heart of this scenario, also destroys service delivery because it puts incompetents – those who care only that it is their “time to eat” – in charge.
South Africans see the results of this lack of service delivery almost daily in violent protests. People protest because their supposed representatives don’t care about them and don’t listen to them.
Under President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC has made good progress in going back towards its “authentic” roots, where service to the people was the prime motivator. But, it is clear that a lot more needs to be done for the organisation to regain its moral compass.