Fruits of Liberation

Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

“The people in our townships, rural areas and squatter camps are bitter [that] democracy has not delivered the fruits that they see a tiny elite enjoying,” says a disenchanted longstanding leader of the South African liberation movement, Jay Naidoo.

“Many of the leaders they revered have abandoned the townships for the Armani lifestyle previously exclusive to leafy White suburbs. They have long lost touch with the disgruntlement brewing in society.

“To compound the situation, a new, predatory elite of middlemen is unashamedly corrupting state officials and stealing tenders and licences.

“They cloak their crime of looting the state treasuries with militant, populist rhetoric that further inflames the already-difficult reality.

“There is legitimate anger and restlessness at the obscenity of wealth inequality… A new apartheid grows…

“Communities see violence as the only language leaders will listen to… A militarized, over-armed and poorly-trained police force is mobilized as the battering ram of political enforcement.”

Naidoo says 15 million South Africans – about a quarter of the population—are only saved from starvation by the social grants they receive every month. Because of vast structural unemployment, the average worker supports up to eight people on a take-home minimum wage. 50 per cent of all workers earn less than R3,000 a month – the equivalent of about $350.

CopyRight – OnTarget 2012 by Martin Spring