SOUTH AFRICA IS teetering on the edge of anarchy. Scenes alarmingly reminiscent of twenty years ago are appearing in the media: toyi-toying, stoning, burning tyres, chaos.
Government has expressed the quaintly delusional notion that the protests are the works of “agents provocateur”. This only goes to show how out of sync the ruling party is with the majority of its constituents.
Until government stops “passing the buck” through misattributing the cause of the protests (and the accompanying assassinations and attacks on party officials), service delivery will never be the urgent priority that, as a constitutional obligation, it should be.
Violent protests are thus not going to disappear either. Frustrated and resentful, the people’s patience has worn dangerously thin. Trust and optimism placed in empty election manifesto promises has unravelled to disillusion and bitterness.
The ANC has become the default oppressors of the people because, while enriching their own elite, they have done little to change a status quo which remains rooted in South Africa’s unjust history of colonialism and apartheid. In the years since 1994 the ANC, once a collective of bourgeoisie intellectuals, has morphed into one of billionaire buffoons. Self-enrichment amongst a politically connected few has flourished while life for many in this country remains much the same.
Yet unlike in so many other African countries, members of the impoverished masses are refusing to accept the new elite’s insouciant subjugation being imposed upon them any longer.
A starkly violent warning has been issued: that enough is enough. We are fast approaching the post-Apartheid Rubicon. If the government wants to avoid countrywide upheaval on an unprecedented scale, it needs to act immediately. It needs to show that it has the compassion and courage to reverse 13 years of deceitful neglect.
The alternative consequences are too frightening to contemplate.