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Has the last honest person in South Africa just died?

As the much revered Nelson Mandela leaves us, many South Africans must fear for their future. There is no danger of the country descending into the kind of tribal civil war so beloved of most African countries. The danger to South Africa is widespread corruption practised by the political and bureaucratic classes. This corruption ensures that the rich get richer while the vast majority of South Africans live in grinding poverty in shacks without electricity or running water.

A new report called The Real State of the Nation published this year concluded that South Africa is fighting a losing battle against corruption. “Corruption is rampant,” the author of the report said, “It’s out of control … And the dedicated units that have been created to fight financial misconduct are in essence fighting a losing battle.”

A former managing director of the World Bank Mamphela Ramphele recently said, “A culture of corruption and impunity is seeping through every level of government, corroding our entire society. It is estimated that corruption robs us of more than R30 billion ($3.34 billion) from our government’s budget every year.” Substantiating her point, Ramphele queried where the country could be if R30 billion a year was spent on schools, bridges and roads, rather than being lost to corrupt practices.

One of the more newsworthy scandals was 206 million rand ($22.98 million) of state funds used on President Jacob Zuma’s private compound in his home village of Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal province. Inevitably, a government inquiry found that this money had only been used for security upgrades and related costs at the president’s private compound (not for any home improvements) and that this decision to spend the $22.98 million on “security” was based on an assessment of threats to Zuma. Well, I guess that the president should feel pretty safe with $22.98 million spent on security for his home – that’s an awful lot of bullet-proof windows, security cameras and burglar alarms.

Fortunately (for the corrupt), thanks to a new media bill passed in April (I think) by an overwhelming majority in the utterly corrupt South African parliament, in the future South Africa’s utterly corrupt politicians and bureaucrats shouldn’t be embarrassed by so many news stories revealing their venality. The “secrecy bill” will increase the government’s power to restrict access to information and impose hefty fines and jail terms on reporters who publish information the government classifies as secret. Like President Zuma’s home improvements, perhaps? Sorry, I meant security for his home.

Here’s a picture of South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela:

And here’s one of South Africa’s current president Jacob Zuma:

One of these men is respected around the world for his integrity. The other is said to be very very very rich. Can you guess which is which?

7 comments to Has the last honest person in South Africa just died?

  • Paris Claims

    There are plenty of people who don’t agree that Mandela was some kind of a saint. He did plead guilty to 156 counts including terrorism. I don’t know much about Mandela’s finances, but I’ll take guess and say he wasn’t short of a few rand.

  • taxxxedtothemaxxx

    I wouldn’t be to sure about SA not descending into tribal civil war… Zuma has seen it coming, that’s why he spent $ 22m on security ;-). Somewhere to stash his bars of gold no doubt…..

  • right_writes

    I didn’t doubt Mandela’s integrity…

    Where I had issues was with his political views (obviously excluding his views and acts relating to apartheid), the man was an old fashioned, unreconstructed, commie!

    I woke up with the thought (totally random) that I really despise leftist ideology… simply because it is that… ideology. A man has an idea, and he thinks the idea is so good, that everyone in the vicinity should benefit from it, whether they agree with him or not.

    I think I had read a story before sleeping, about the state of our education system and that led to me waking up with the thought that politicians who thought that children should all be treated the same, because otherwise some schools would look better than others, or some such tripe, were possibly some of the most cruel individuals.

    People only get one shot at life, and to deprive some brighter children of a souped up education for reasons of ideology and statistical massage is really quite sick.

  • […] Has the last honest person in South Africa just died? By  David Craig, on December 6th, 2013 […]

  • shortchanged

    Unfortunately for right_writes, and others, the world is run by idealists whose fanaticism overrules all common sense.
    Apartheid has not finished, it is just in another form, called tribalism. In other countries it is religion, and in others, the class system.
    The only truth in all of this is that the rich will get richer and everyone else, the majority of taxpayers, gets poorer.
    The children, as always, are the losers, mores the pity, and as a Great Grandfather, I wish it could be otherwise.

  • John Fields

    Arafat, Bin Laden, Gerry Adams and Mandela. What is the difference?

  • Mike

    Nelson Mandela was a Marxist and a terrorist, who drove people to kill on the basis of skin color. The ANC killed 20,000 blacks. I will add to John Fields list Hitler and Stalin.

    Saint Nelson was on a US terror watch list until 2008 until another war criminal G W Bush got him off. After the April 16 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon, Obama said: “Any time bombs are used to target CIVILIANS it is an act of terror”. Sic Semper Tyrannis.

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