The ANC celebrated its centenary this year. The motto for the centenary year celebrations was "100 Years Of Selfless Struggle”. The fact that 17 years as the head of South Africa’s government has all but undone the ANC’s ‘glorious past’ is a moot point, but I found the following story (one that is currently creating quite a stir across the country) a good illustration of just how low the ANC has sunk.
Durban’s relatively new Deputy Mayor is Nomvuzo Shabalala, and if she had her way, she’d be chauffeured around the city in an armoured Mercedes Benz S600L, which retails at about R6.8 million.
Her justification: “My safety as the second citizen of the city must be a priority”.
During the process of the city’s recent purchase of two new official vehicles, Shabalala very selflessly chose a luxury Toyota Prado instead, saying “But we did not take that decision [to buy the Merc] because that car is armoured and is bullet-proof which is very safe. So choosing the Prado shows our aim is not to have the luxury of driving around in beautiful cars but to reach communities in the mud areas of Umbumbulu, Magabheni and KwaXimba.”
When Shabalala was first appointed as Deputy Mayor in 2011, her speech included the following promise: “We [the ANC leadership of KwaZulu-Natal] are the decision makers and we must realize that we are not doing these things for ourselves, but for the people of eThekwini….Our citizens need to live a better, healthier life. Service delivery must be our key priority. There are a lot of things to be done, but if we work together we can do it. I will work hard and make sure that we work together as a team.”
Where, as the saying goes, did it all go wrong?
Why does a relatively lowly Deputy Mayor suddenly think she’s in danger of being assassinated? Durban’s municipal rates are so high that there are elderly people doing without food or medicine. Durban doesn’t even have a clean audit report as a city. But we need to fund luxury vehicles for our second citizen.
Another day in Africa, nothing particularly out of the ordinary, and yet maybe that’s the tragedy of it all.