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Blog Posted in avatar   Tamara Aspeling's Blog

The New South Africa: What Went Wrong?

By Tamara Aspeling
Posted Sep 6, 2012 in Politics
South Africa had a rare opportunity in 1994. One that not many countries have been lucky enough to have, and none have been lucky enough to have in quite the same way.
We were fortunate enough to emerge from a war that never happened with a clean slate.
Unlike Japan, that had to rebuild from the horror of the nuclear bombs in World War 2, and Germany, that faced decades of segregation due to the same basic cause, we were a country that started with a clean slate.
I'm old enough to remember the 1994 election - even if I was not old enough to vote then.
What I remember, more than anything, is a nation that sighed the relieved sigh of an exhausted adversary. Everyone, for a very brief moment in our history, put down their weapons, and everyone looked forward with hope.
That hope is long gone. But why?
Post 1994, we had a fantastic opportunity. We had the opportunity to build a country that was cohesive, functioning and an example to the world. But we failed. Why?
The very first reason I can think of is the ANC.
The ANC were effective as a liberator. They made the right noises, had the right friends, and in people like Nelson Mandela, one can argue the right people.
However, the ANC of Mandela have devolved, and they have become the living proof of the old cliche about absolute power.
I think I know what their mistakes were.
First, they made unrealistic promises, that they knew they wouldn't be able to keep.
Yes. Every politician does that. But every politician is not dealing with an electorate that can't read, and who believes that drought is not a problem if you just open the tap.
The ANC made unrealistic promises to an electorate who were too unsophisticated to understand that they were unrealistic - and they continue to do so.
The next fatal mistake in the New South Africa was in not making education a priority. Again, the ANC are at fault.
They were the ones who implemented a dumbed down, lowered standards excuse for an education system that produces high school students who can't read. If the corrupt education system can manage to find them teachers and text books that is.
The next problem is that the ANC cadres began stealing wholesale.
To put it in perspective - the cost to build new stadiums and host the world cup in 2010 was R 30 billion. The money 'lost' by corrupt ANC officials over the past three years greatly exceeds that figure.
Poor, uneducated people, and a government that is more focused on lining their pockets have resulted in the situation we see in South Africa today. The trouble is, those same corrupt, unethical and immoral politicians are the ones blaming Verwoed for the sad state of education. An education system they themselves implemented.
Until someone stops the robber barons of South Africa - until someone removes the ANC from power, and pushes them away from the trough - Africa's most promising country will never flourish.
In fact, if it doesn't happen soon, my guess is South Africa will be razed to the ground.
Cry the beloved country.

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