Automotive Business Review
Our Bloated Ship of State...
As I write this, it is 17h20 on 15 February 2018, and Matamele Cyril Ramaphosa has just been sworn in by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. All of South Africa is euphoric, and rightly so, because our very own Caligula, one Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, has revealed that the emperor has no clothes, and a new era has begun.
But hold your horses. And I’m not referring to the horse that Caligula promoted to high office, although if you look at some of the appointees of Zuma, he may as well have appointed horses. The reason why I’m asking you to hold your horses is because one swallow does not make a summer, and dear Cyril has an enormous job ahead of him, in clearing out the Augean stables.
Enough of the metaphors, and down to business. My advice to Ramaphosa is to take all of your political capital, and to spend it on cleaning house – not just in removing the crust of pus that Zuma baked onto our body politic pie, but to overturn the whole filthy maggot infested pot of corruption. It is a herculean task, so let us remove the elephant in the room, bite by bite. There I go again with my metaphors - but then again what is a meta for?
We must start with reducing the size of the cabinet, and the size of our civil service, and over and above that we must reduce the costs relating to these parasites. I could give you chapter and verse on the abuses visited upon our fiscus by practically every organ of state, and at every level, but for the sake of brevity I will concentrate on our ministers and deputy ministers. Are you aware that little South Africa has 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers reporting to our president and vice president, and technically running the bloated ship of state? Compare that to the biggest economy on the planet, America, which has just 17 cabinet ministers, including the president and vice president, and supported by eight cabinet level officials. Already a depressing comparison of competence and efficiency, but this mismatch of resources and bureaucratic wastage does not even tell half the story, and alas goes much further.
The salaries of these South African parasites are also terribly out of kilter, when compared to similar sized economies, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The ministerial handbook, which is officially a “classified, confidential document”, allows for obscene wastage of taxpayers’ money. The distressing fact is that, over and above their bloated salaries, our esteemed ministers also get official vehicles, private vehicle allowances, free accommodation, first class international air travel, free medical aid, a ridiculous allocation of business class domestic air tickets for themselves and family, out of pocket expenses, stays in five star hotels, security details, and over and above this already outrageous situation, they are also allowed to abuse the officially sanctioned thuggery known as the blue light brigade pantomime.
Just one example of where their priorities lie, which still has me shaking my head, is that when South Africa’s communist party head was appointed as higher education minister, his first official action was to purchase a R1, 2 million BMW as his official vehicle. I have it on good authority that when the deal was signed, at that very moment an earth tremor was recorded in the city of London. Upon investigation, it was found that the epicentre of this tremor was at the Highgate cemetery, and the precise location was Karl Marx’s gravesite. Marx was the original communist bullshit artist, with the grandest tombstone in the cemetery, but even he in his gilded resting place was astounded by Blade’s middle finger to the poor of South Africa. When they dug down to his coffin, they found him spinning in his grave.
And it is not just me who questions the ministerial handbook. Judith February, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies’ government, crime and justice division, argues that this excuse for pilfering should be made public. “It should be the subject of public scrutiny and discussion because after all, our public representatives spend public money when they spend money on accommodation and cars and other benefits of office,” she says. February elucidates, “The Handbook is extraordinarily lenient in some respects allowing expenditure which could be excessive ordinarily. Ministers have therefore used the Handbook as an excuse for expenditure which cannot be justified given the levels of inequality we live with.”
Murray Hunter, spokesman for the Right 2 Know Campaign, adds “There’s no excuse for secrecy in these matters, not only because it involves the use of public funds for private comfort but because it shines a light on the distance between the lives of those who are elected to lead, and the ordinary citizens they serve.”
So there you have it, CR, you have your work cut out for you. Cut the size of the cabinet, and get rid of the corrupt filth that has been inflicted on us by JZ. If you need help I have a list for you, and the first name on this list is one Knowledge Malusi Nkanyezi Gigaba, aka Giggle Gigupta. But there are many more names, as the list is long.