Suck It Up – Integrity in Government?

SA’s ladies javelin champion Sunette Viljoen (33) who earned a silver medal for SA at this year’s Rio Games, has an expectation of some prize money from the SA Government (aka SASCOC aka South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee). It was reported here and here that Silver Medalists can expect R250 000 from SASCOC, to be shared between the athlete and the coach. Yet Sunette seems to be short of R70 000 in prize money, which, if the inferences drawn from tweets by and between South African Minister of Sport, Mbalula Fikile and Sunette (see here) are true, there was a reasonable expectation of a reward of the R70 000 prize money from SASCOC.

The SASCOC’s response, as witnessed by Minister Fikile’s tweet, was that he believed that Sunette had said she did not need the money and therefore would not be paid it.

What sort of response is that? It is the sort of response that even the lowliest government functionary can be expected to deliver in the face of someone demanding that government do their job or pay their debt. Suck it up.

A few personal experiences trying to recover over-payments and over billings indicate these are almost impossible hurdles to overcome. Officials refer one from pillar to post and then back again until one runs out of possibilities.

The point I wish to make here, is that the Ministerial attitude seems to be the same as that of a lowly municipal servant’s attitude. It is an attitude that seem to filter from the top down, indeed, Minister Fikile’s response seems to very much reflect his boss’s attitude to various acts of alleged malfeasance, including but not limited to the Nkandla fiasco. Suck it up.

In the Nkandla matter, eventually the DA was forced to go to the constitutional court to get some respite for the nation, although we suspect it was only a token respite. But where do Sunette and others go for their claims? The last I heard you needed to put up R300 000 before an attorney will go anywhere near a court on your behalf, and some R3 000 000 to approach the constitutional court.

That leaves Sunette and others without those resources, out in the cold, and people like Minister Fikile and his boss and the general functionaries of municipalities and government departments count on it, to protect their own disinterest, incompetence or unwillingness to fulfill their obligations with any integrity.

My last observation on the question of Minister Fikile and Sunette’s exchange, is that the Minister accuses Sunette of arrogance. Anyone reading the interchange will be able to judge for themselves just who is being arrogant and who is being humble.

The purpose of these blogs is to compare DDF ethic and policy with the ANC experience. So here goes.

The above illustrates what you can expect from an ANC led government, pretty much from top to bottom. Under a DDF administration, all of government, from the top to bottom, whether central, municipal or local, will all have to acknowledge that they are firstly public servants who are there to serve the public, not themselves.  They will be expected to serve with integrity and honour, in all exchanges, from repaying state moneys used for personal enrichment (a la Nkandla) to paying out prize money to our champion athletes, to sorting out queries and honouring agreements with their consumers and their suppliers, to providing excellent services.  Under a DDF administration, failure to do so would be a punishable offence.

Suck that up if you will.

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Nkandla Again – 2 Billion and Counting

The ministry of defence have announced further extensions to Nkandla compound.  The total cost of the entire development for that compound and surrounds is not a mere R200M which commentators speak of but instead is close to R2 Billion (see here).  Just where will it end?

And later – the M & G reports their report was in error, that the upgrades are intended to make the presidential clinic at Nkandla available to the general community.  This somehow justifies what?  Perhaps they hope to sweeten the R2 Billion pill.

A Direct Democracy Forum administration will ensure that such profligate expenditure ends and that expenditure to date is recovered, as much as is possible.

The buck stops at the ballot box.

Anene

We don’t know what sort of a person Anene was and frankly it doesn’t matter, she simply did not deserve to die.  She did not deserve to be a rape victim.  This should never have happened to her.  This should never happen to any girl, any woman, to any person, ever.

Sadly it happens to too many.

So what to do?  Why does it happen? How can we stop it happening again, or at least, happening as often as it does?  Everyone in South Africa, every chat show host, every columnist, every blogger, ourselves included, is asking this question of one another and of ourselves.  We cannot help but ask these questions.  And a rape every four minutes, which we believe reflects the real incidence of this outrage, compels us to ask them.

We are not psychologists.  We cannot get into the mind of a rapist and we wouldn’t want to go there anyway.  But we are convinced that the fragmented society we live in must have something to do with Anene’s pain and fate.

We have a theory; that men do not grow to learn to respect women because they often grow up in the streets, or nearly so, reflecting the attitudes of cohorts who have no respect for anyone.  Meaning they do not have the benefits of growing up in a nurturing family, learning to respect and cherish one another, that the ethic of violence and bullying and lack of respect for one-another and for women in particular, is learned in our streets and in our schools and in our gangs, and is just a catalyst for the mind-set that says of Anene and others like her, that they are just a toy, there for some one’s momentary pleasure, to be used, abused and discarded for dead like so much trash.  And somehow this mind-set has to end.

We believe that if our society were different, if we had affordable government we would have an affordable society made up of affordable communities made up of affordable families, nurturing families who would teach us all to respect and love and care for one another and protect one another, particularly the vulnerable, as Anene was.  And we pledge ourselves to that end.  But we have a long way to go.   

We are realists.  We understand that it cannot end rapes, and sadly, it cannot return Anene’s life to her nor her gifts to her loved ones but perhaps it will save some of her sisters from similar indignities and fates.  We can only do our best.