It is easy to become cynical about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s promised “new dawn”. There has been little evidence so far of those in the ANC who have been accused of corruption and wrongdoing actually being brought to book and the stories of abuse continue.
We do have sympathy for Ramaphosa, because it’s not easy to change overnight what has become a culture of greed and lack of accountability. Yet, there were some glimmers of hope this week that, just maybe, some leaders in the ANC might be starting to work for the people of South Africa rather than for themselves, their families and friends.
Newly-appointed Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul told his incoming MECs that they could forget about getting fancy new cars with their jobs.
The money budgeted for those vehicles would go instead to buying ambulances. Also, Saul promised to get his hands dirty in personally monitoring service delivery in education and healthcare and, in the latter case, said he will establish a “corner office” in the casualty department of the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in the heart of Kimberley.
At the same time, Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha cancelled his own inauguration, pointing out, correctly, that the money could be better spent on the pressing problems in the province. Perhaps we are being naïve, but let’s give the two premiers the benefit of the doubt and believe they are genuinely willing to be servants of the public.
While we’re at it, how about banning blue light brigades and slashing the VIP protection budget? Then, let’s issue each minister a Toyota Corolla or equivalent. Sell off the ministerial mansions, too.
More than that, there needs to be a re-engineering of the attitudes of those in government. You work for us, not the other way around.