To my mind

2011-04-28 00:00

It’s right for President Jacob Zuma and other ANC leaders to condemn the incident in which Andries Tatane was killed by members of the SA Police Force in Ficksburg. They had to do so following the countrywide outburst of anger and dismay when the SABC and newspapers showed the gruesome evidence.

But that was only after the ANC first had the gall to say it was concerned about the SABC broadcasting such shocking images. ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu even asked communications regulator Icasa to investigate whether the public broadcaster hadn’t overstepped its mandate. A typical case of blaming the messenger because the king doesn’t like the message. No wonder the ANC is so determined to push through information legislation aimed at gagging the press and preventing the disclosure of abuses.

Jimi Matthews, head of TV news at the SABC, and his team deserve praise for their decision to telecast those ugly images. As Matthews himself said, the public reaction showed it was the correct decision.

Let us not forget Tatane was killed in the course of a demonstration against shocking services delivery by an ANC-controlled municipality just weeks ahead of the municipal elections.

And where is Zuma’s Minister of Local Government, Sicelo Shiceka? On sick leave, as he’s been for an extended period. And before he went on leave he was – as revealed over recent weeks by the Sunday Times and City Press – more interested in lining his own pockets and living like a medieval prince on the backs of the taxpayers than ensuring municipalities do their work and provide people such as Andries Tatane with running water and an efficient sewage system.

Zuma also had to concede to Shiceka’s activities being investigated and steps being taken against him if the allegations prove to be true. But why does Zuma so often wait until his hand is forced before he takes action? Where’s his leadership when it’s needed?

Does he really think it’s in SA’s interests for Julius Malema to destroy investor confidence and race relations with his statements and actions? You can go to any extreme, as some people have done, to try to explain ANC traditional songs but it simply remains irresponsible to sing and praise violence against a certain sector of the population 20 years after the end of the armed struggle. And, as Kader Asmal expresses so succinctly in his column in this issue, Malema’s knowledge of economy is about on par with crowd control by a Ficksburg policeman.