h4. December 16 may yet be seen as a watershed moment in Apartheid-free South Africa, as the so-called ‘white middle class’ (according to media reports) gathered in protest against South African president Jacob Zuma. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria saw citizens unite in a bid to set the ball rolling in bringing about change. Zuma, who faces over 700 corruption charges, will face further protest in the New Year, with Durban and Port Elizabeth expected to join. In this brilliant piece by Robert Miller, which was first published on the Corruption Must Fall website, he tries to unpack the importance of it all. He likens the country to a ship, a ship with no one at the helm. A ship where any officer who comes to them to tell them there is a problem or tries to change the ship’s course gets fired. His worry is that if there is no change in course, and if the people being carried on the ship don’t enforce a change, the titanic may hit the iceberg ordinary citizens aren’t seeing:
So apparently I and many of those who marched don’t get it, we don’t get why it was wrong and we don’t get why it wasn’t appropriate in the eyes of a few of our friends. Let me explain what I do get…
South Africa is a ship and yes many of us have been privileged enough to get nice mid or upper level cabins thanks to the past while most of the passengers are still in the bilges with no cabins.
So when we got on this ship in 1994 I seem to remember the new management talking about cabins for everyone and cleaner better bilges in the meantime. Many of us didn’t quite see how this was going to happen but we realised it needed to and that progress had to be made and was long overdue; however, because we are not powerful enough on the board, we were told to go back to our middle level cabins and mind our own business.
This ship has been cruising around now for a few years and I must say it is actually not looking that good. Of course it’s been blamed on the previous management despite the current management totally mismanaging it, neglecting repairs, putting untrained crew in charge of critical systems and it is pretty much limping along with its pumps battling to keep the water out.
I can’t image what life in the bilges is like but it must be pretty bad given the water that’s been coming in and that fact that not even a fraction of the promised cabins have been built.
Now I can imagine for those in the bilges just staying alive is a huge priority and it’s not acceptable, needs to change, should have changed, should have been addressed because it’s getting worse and cannot continue. Every time management have been challenged on this we have been told it’s under control…
So why are we doing something now?
Well we looked out our comfortable cabin windows and saw that we are heading for a huge fucking iceberg.
No matter where you are on this ship, if we hit this iceberg we are all going down together, it just may take longer for the water to reach our cabins but it eventually will and then no one is getting better living conditions and a new cabin, not in the near future anyway.
To make matters worse, there is no one at the helm, the captain and his first officers are partying on the stern deck with the Chinese, Guptas and the Russians discussing his new house and jet and any officer who comes to them to tell them there is a problem or tries to change the ship’s course gets fired.
So a few of my friends tell me we need to trust the process and wait till the next board meeting to replace the board, well firstly many of those who vote are below decks and can’t see the iceberg and personally I think we will have hit it before then and will probably be on our way down to the bottom.
So right now my aim is to get out on the deck with anyone from any part of the ship, get the captain removed and hopefully replaced by someone who will changed this ship’s course long enough for the board to meet and get their act together or be replaced by a board that will build new cabins and address the issues lower down on this ship instead of partying.
Hopefully this new board will build great new cabins so everyone has a view of the surroundings and can clearly see what’s going on…
So to my friends who are looking down to the despair in the bilges and wondering why we don’t get it, I understand your concern and your sentiments but may I suggest you take a look out of one of your mid-level cabin portholes, it’s a pretty big iceberg…