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Gareth Cliff's letter to Government

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GCG
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« on: October 21, 2010, 09:36:36 AM »

Quote
Dear Government
 
OK, I get it, the President isn't the only one in charge. The ANC believes in "collective responsibility" (So that nobody has to get blamed when things get screwed up), so I address this to everyone in government - the whole lot of you - good, bad and ugly (That's you, Blade).

We were all so pleased with your renewed promises to deliver services (we'll forgive the fact that in some places people are worse off than in 1994); to root out corruption (so far your record is worse than under Mbeki, Mandela or the Apartheid regime - what with family members becoming overnight millionaires); and build infrastructure (State tenders going disgustingly awry and pretty stadia standing empty notwithstanding) - and with the good job you did when FIFA were telling you what to do for a few months this year. Give yourselves half a pat on the back. Since President Sepp went off with his billions I'm afraid we have less to be proud of - Public Servants Strikes, more Presidential bastard children, increasing unemployment and a lack of leadership that allowed the Unions to make the elected government it's bitch. You should be more than a little worried - but you're not. Hence my letter. Here are some things that might have passed you by:

1. You have to stop corruption. Don't stop it because rich people moan about it and because it makes poor people feel that you are self-enriching parasites of state resources, but because it is a disease that will kill us all. It's simple - there is only so much money left to be plundered. When that money runs out, the plunderers will raise taxes, chase and drain all the remaining cash out of the country and be left with nothing but the rotting remains of what could have been the greatest success story of post-colonial Africa. It's called corruption because it decomposes the fabric of society. When someone is found guilty of corruption, don't go near them - it's catchy. Making yourself rich at the country's expense is what colonialists do.

2. Stop complaining about the media. You're only complaining about them because they show you up for how little you really do or care. If you were trying really hard, and you didn't drive the most expensive car in the land, or have a nephew who suddenly went from modesty to ostentatious opulence, we'd have only positive things to report. Think of Jay Naidoo, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi and Zwelinzima Vavi - they come under a lot of fire, but it's never embarrassing - always about their ideas, their positions, and is perfectly acceptable criticism for people in power to put up with. When the media go after Blade Nzimande, Siphiwe Nyanda and the President, they say we need a new piece of legislation to "make the media responsible". That's because they're being humiliated by the facts we uncover about them daily, not because there is an agenda in some newsroom. If there had been a free press during the reigns of Henry VIII, Idi Amin or Hitler, their regimes might just have been kept a little less destructive, and certainly would have been less brazen and unchecked.

3. Education is a disaster. We're the least literate and numerate country in Africa. Zimbabwe produces better school results and turns out smarter kids than we do. Our youth aren't usemployed, they're unemployable. Outcomes-based-education, Teachers' Unions and an attitude of mediocrity that discourages excellence have reduced us to a laughing stock. Our learners can't spell, read, add or subtract. What are all these people going to do? Become President? There's only one job like that. We need clever people, not average or stupid ones. the failure of the Education Department happened under your watch. Someone who writes Matric now hadn't even started school under the Apartheid regime, so you cannot blame anyone but yourselves for this colossal cock-up. Fix it before three-quarters of our matrics end up begging on Oxford Road. Reward schools and teachers who deliver great pass rates and clever students into the system. Fire the teachers who march and neglect their classrooms.

4. Give up on BEE. It isn't working. Free shares for new black partnerships in old white companies has made everyone poorer except for Tokyo Sexwale. Giving people control of existing business won't make more jobs either. In fact, big companies aren't growing, they're reducing staff and costs. The key is entrepreneurship. People with initiative, creative ideas and small companies must be given tax breaks and assistance. Young black professionals must be encouraged to start their own businesses rather than join a big corporation's board as their token black shareholder or director. Government must also stop thinking that state employment is a way to decrease unemployment - it isn't - it's a tax burden. India and China are churning out new, brilliant, qualified people at a rate that makes us look like losers. South Africa has a proud history of innovation, pioneering and genius. This is the only way we can advance our society and economy beyond merely coping.

5. Stop squabbling over power. Offices are not there for you to occupy (or be deployed to) and aggrandize yourself. Offices in government are there to provide a service. If you think outrageous salaries, big German cars, first-class travel and state housing are the reasons to aspire to leadership, you're in the wrong business - you should be working for a dysfunctional, tumbledown parastatal (or Glenn Agliotti). We don't care who the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces is if we don't have running water, electricity, schools and clean streets. You work for us. Do your job, don't imagine you ARE your job.

6. Stop renaming things. Build new things to name. If I live in a street down which the sewage runs, I don't care if it's called Hans Strijdom or Malibongwe. Calling it something nice and new won't make it smell nice and new. Re-branding is something Cell C do with Trevor Noah, not something you can whitewash your lack of delivery with. 

7. Don't think you'll be in power forever. People aren't as stupid as you think we are. We know you sit around laughing about how much you get away with. We'll take you down, either at the polls - or if it comes down to the wire - by revolution (Yes, Julius, the real kind, not the one you imagine happened in 2008). Careless, wasteful and wanton government is a thing of the past. The days of thin propaganda and idealized struggle are over. The people put you in power - they will take you out of it. Africa is tired of tin-pot dictators, one-party states and banana republics. We know who we are now, we care about our future - and so should you.
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Brian
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 10:32:37 AM »

Cliff for President...Hail Hail Hail!
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 11:26:22 AM »

Absolutely brilliant. Honest, well written and directly to the point. Awesome.
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Lilli
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Lelani Stolp
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2010, 11:35:19 AM »

Always did like that guy.  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2010, 11:39:32 AM »

there is a huge hoohah about this now.  the newspapers are jumping on the bandwagon. 
and he's been contacted by a government spokesperson, to meet with zuma personally next week some time.
more people actually need to be more outspoken like that.  get the people angry enough to make some noise.
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2010, 11:40:02 AM »

Gareth Cliff to meet with Jacob Zuma’s office.  Predictably, the peanut gallery has taken it upon itself to label Cliff’s issues as “racist” – as if that somehow invalidates the concerns he’s raised.

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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2010, 12:13:26 PM »

oh dear god.  where, oh where, does he get racist?
i have been listening to his show for years now, from back in the day when he did the drive show in the afternoon.  he has never been racist, or homophobic.  in fact, he stands up for gay rights.
he does not, though, have time for the woo.

i really hope he doesnt get bullied into submission by the powers that be.  we need someone who is outspoken, and not afraid to step on toes.  i wonder if they will threaten him with his job, since the SABC is a government run institution.
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Lelani Stolp
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2010, 12:21:17 PM »

Funny, isn't it, how every time a person of colour in government is criticized by anybody, they shout 'Racist'! Do they noot realize how ridiculous that makes them look?!
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2010, 12:52:52 PM »

those who hide behind the racist label are normally moral cowards (unless of course they're justified!)
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2010, 13:32:51 PM »

Well, the calls of “racist” obviously constitute a blatant ad hominem retort with a liberal dose of poisoning-the-well thrown in.  Even if Gareth Cliff was supreme head of the Ku Klux Klan, that fact would be entirely irrelevant to the question of whether the points he raises are legitimate ones or not.  That Cliff isn’t a racist makes the accusation doubly egregious and risible, which says more about his detractors than about him.  His letter’s tone is equally irrelevant to its factuality, but these details don’t prevent the government’s talking heads from falling all over themselves, attempting to fabricate flaccid, flabby and fatuous reasons supposedly showing that Gareth Cliff is wrong.

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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2010, 13:52:46 PM »

flaccid, flabby and fatuous

what about flatulent?
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Brian
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2010, 14:29:36 PM »

in terms of some law or another I wonder what they're going to make of this:
Quote
We'll take you down, either at the polls - or if it comes down to the wire - by revolution

or this:

Quote
The people put you in power - they will take you out of it. Africa is tired of tin-pot dictators, one-party states and banana republics
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2010, 16:21:27 PM »

Brian, I seriously doubt that there’s enough there to sustain charges of libel and/or incitement to violence and/or similar (if that’s where your musings were going).  From the legal perspective, the government as a whole is not considered to be a juristic person (or a natural one) so it cannot claim any damages.  Cliff’s statements are not directed at specifically identified individuals, and they would in any case be considered political speech to which considerable leeway applies.  Were it not so, there’d be no end of legal action among all the political factions that call one another names at every opportunity.

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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2010, 10:16:29 AM »

just a random, naieve comment.  could they not swing it as treason?  saying things about revolution?
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2010, 11:17:14 AM »

could they not swing it as treason?
No, SA isn’t at war, whether overt or covert, so treason and/or sedition would be summarily laughed out of court.  Nor, as far as anyone knows, is Cliff selling or passing along any state secrets or sensitive materials.  At worst, they could accuse him of being unpatriotic for not kowtowing to the whims of the ruling mob.  However, a strong case can also be made for his being very patriotic in light of his vocal concerns for SA’s future.

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