For a split second it seemed that South Africa spoke with one voice behind Zwelinzima Vavi. South Africa’s rainbow middle and working class young and old marched together a few weeks back against yet more financial burdens placed on them by the government. Some indeed saw an opportunity for the emergence of a new party wishing and hoping that Zwelinzima Vavi could open a labour party in the country. On various social platforms readers wrote that Zwelinzima Vavi could open a party that would indeed unite all people in South Africa. During this time a woman was interviewed briefly on SABC news. She was irate; she said “it is becoming too bloody expensive to live in this country.” Why is the government overtaxing the country’s middle class? While the inequality gap between the rich and the poor is too large in South Africa taking from those who have cannot be the solution. Has the government considered that the new black middle class is also supporting a lot of the unemployed in the country? It would be interesting if the government knew the impact of overtaxing the middle class. How about if the government supported the middle class that is already carrying a heavy financial load as they support the needy which mostly includes their families and in other cases adopted families.
Has the government considered utilising the middle class to seek solutions together with government? If the public is invited to develop any kind of system that will be beneficial to the country and to alleviate poverty, to have cleaner communities. I do believe that the ANC’s current slogan which is “Together we can do more” could be realised. If such a platform or invitation were available and open to the public; who knows what kind of solutions would open up? Would this not take a lot of pressure off the government’s shoulders as the weight would be equally shifted to members of society? Perhaps there would be a realisation that people in the nation are not mere children waiting to be served and should not be led as children. This would require mature leadership, leaders who are not insecure self-centred small thinkers.
I think of a government as a cross between a company and a family because it has to be efficient and yet relational. However we are dealing with a government that has its own internal issues. It is not a company that wants to see profit that ensures the happiness of its staff by ensuring that each one’s gift is used to the maximum. It is a complex system riddled with strife like a malfunctioning family at times. It is full of personalities who want to make a difference and some who will hinder any progress because they cannot see any further than their already large stomachs. Other personalities are like selfish children who celebrate the failure of others and their strategy is to humiliate failing communities as much as possible in order to get to their leaders.
Sometimes I wonder what our relationship with the government is like. Do we like our government or do we expect to be continually disappointed at every point. Like the guy who began the proudly South African Fridays we need at least a day a month or a week to express gratitude on social networks about what we are grateful for. The rest of the time we are forever focusing on what we do not have, what the government ought to do, which leader we do not like, which one should go or which one we miss. We need to cultivate a culture of national gratitude and I am not talking about being grateful for what happened 20 years ago but something that happened this month, today.
There are many things in my province in the Eastern Cape that I am personally frustrated with. There are a lot of political figures I am frustrated with, particularly from our neighbour from the other Cape who has recently said insensitive words which I consider highly racist. There was much debate on my Facebook wall this week. Or else I could think of good thoughts of gratitude like in our neighbouring Cape when I lived there a few months ago. I was grateful that there was a security guard at the train subway in the suburb I worked in. I wondered whether people in the townships and flats also received that same treatment. I never found out however, I was grateful for what I could see. I am grateful that I have enjoyed positive interactions with police in the last few years. In times past there were times where we eventually went to the police station ourselves because the police simply never answered our call. I am grateful that this month my grandmother has received good treatment at the Frere hospital which has been infamous for bad service. I am grateful for the labour department that I have received what I needed when I needed it without any incidents. The more I make a list of my gratitude with the national and regional departments, the more I realise that I have more good to say than bad. It is only that the bad seems very bad, but how much worse would it be if the other departments were not working as well? What is your gratitude list?