We need accountability. We need change even more

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When a supreme court judge this week issued a warrant of arrest for former President Jacob Zuma, I felt a sense of relief. Whether Zuma will or won’t actually be arrested is yet to be seen, but it’s time for some action to be taken for all that he has done to this country.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Feb 06, 2020

He is despicable. He continues to play games and thinks he can get away with them. Sending an unacceptable doctor’s note with no clear explanation of what is supposedly wrong with him is once again a case of Zuma trying to evade his day in the dock. I’m so glad the judge was having none of it.

There are undoubtedly many at fault for the state of our economy, our parastatals, unemployment, and the financial situation of the country. However, the buck stops with the person in charge, and Zuma took on that mantle.

Earlier this week, I heard that 29 000 South African politicians and public servants earn more than R1 million a year, making ours the highest paid public service in the world. I felt quite sick.

I believe that when people work hard and do well, they should be paid well.

But when people do little of positive consequence, and believe they have a right to skim the cream off the country, it makes me angry. Especially because it’s public money – your and my hard-earned money that goes to taxes.

Now, I respect the fact that we don’t have a choice about paying taxes, that’s the way of any country. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise. However, it’s not something that makes me happy right now.

I would be the first person in line to hand over my taxes if I knew that they were going to a good cause. If it was going to help educate people who would otherwise battle to get an education; if it was going to improve the public health services; if it was going to house people who didn’t have a proper roof over their heads; I would be skipping to the front of the line. If it was going to enable people to provide more jobs for the now unemployed; I would be first to hand over that money.

But when we hear of this kind of wasteful expenditure, it becomes more of a grudge for every one of us. For too long, that money has been misused. Sure, some of the government’s money has been used for development, but where are the jobs, where is an improved health service, and why are South African parastatals in a worse state than they have every been? And, as for the politicians and public servants who are earning so much, what are they doing to justify it?

Have they improved the country? What have they done to justify those fat pay checks? I would love to know.

The truth is that they are just a collection of people benefiting from a legacy left to us by none other than Jacob Zuma. So, he must not get away with it.

To be honest, I don’t really care if he isn’t well. He must stand in the dock, and tell the truth. There have to consequences – for his actions and for those he allowed others to take. Most importantly, for every South African, justice has to be seen to be done to the leaders robbing this country.

This is a phenomenal country with great minds and incredible prospects, but corruption has become par for the course. It started at the top, and worked its way down. It has to stop, and it has to stop now!

As the people of the book, it’s incumbent on us to set an example. We can’t be seen to be corrupt, and we have to live ethical and moral lives.

In this edition, we have a pull-out supplement that focuses on finances, tax, and other money related issues. They are integral to mapping the way forward. We look at how we teach our children to save, how to manage our taxes, the intricacies of exchange control, and dealing with the expense of death.

We look at historic perceptions regarding Jews and money. We also meet a few young entrepreneurs who started businesses while still at school.

Our economy isn’t in great shape, and while it looks like there is a move afoot from our president and some government ministers to improve our situation, we can’t wait for them.

While the government and justice system needs to pick up the pace in regard to righting wrongs and punishing people for what they have done, we need to help get the economy back on track. And, we can do a great deal if we set our minds to it.

While we certainly cannot let Zuma and his cohorts get away with what they have done, we also can’t sit around waiting for this to happen before moving forward. We need to look up, smell the roses, and find ways to improve our situation.

The government has to come to the party and help small-to-medium-sized businesses grow so they can employ more people. That’s the beginning of growth.

As we were saying last week on considering the Holocaust, we must never forget, and people need to be held accountable, but we can’t stop our lives while we wait for that to be done. We need to turn the situation around. Let’s see what we can do to do just that.

Shabbat Shalom!


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