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I Too Have A Dream, Mr President

I had a dream the other night Mr President, and it’s one I thought worth sharing. Vividly filled with possibilities and symbolism, I awakened from this dream with heightened impetus and belief in our collective ability to do more about resolving our plight, knowing full well that you have the vast majority of South Africans behind you to make South Africa brilliant.

In my dream, Mr President, I saw a politician and his wife taking their young child to enrol at a well-manicured private school, not too far from their house. But alas, they were turned away, not because the school was full or that they couldn’t afford the fees, but because the school’s governing body strongly believed that if this country was to rectify its dismal performance in the education sector, they needed to play their part in forcing politicians to enrol their children at public schools.

In this dream, the same politician’s family was turned away from every private school they tried to enter – and it turned out the private schools industry association took a collective stance of moral courage on this issue, forcing all politicians from mayors to ministers to educate their children in government-managed schools.

The diabolical education situation – endured by most citizens – was rammed down the throats of our political leaders and thus did they get to the job of rectifying this dire social ill.

In this same dream, I saw a private hospital checking the names of its incoming patients with a recently updated database and turning away politicians to seek treatment in government-run hospitals. As with the school situation, every private hospital the politicians tried to book into for medical procedures and treatments, closed their doors and ordered ambulances to take the sick politicians and their families to a public medical facility.

The same thing happened when private security service companies were called to politicians’ houses to install security or armed response systems. Nobody came, forcing the politicians to rely on 10111 and the SAPS for all their security services and needs.

Then, Mr President, my dream got very interesting, as divine intervention appeared to drive the most alarming events. I saw all the sewage that was flowing down our streets and into our rivers, start to flow down the streets and driveways and into the houses of politicians. Through the corridors of the Union Buildings and the Houses of Parliament, the national poo aggregate appeared to be magnetised to anything and everything that smelt of a politician.

Magically the putrid stench and rivers of faeces that have become the daily life of millions in townships were being forced into the lives of politicians. Hey presto, the authorities quickly repaired and implemented efficient and robust sewage infrastructure.

My dream – the best I can ever recall – was abruptly shattered by a neighbour’s house alarm and shots being fired, and along with that, the nightmare of the real life that millions of citizens were waking up to every day set in. The brokenness of our existing cities, towns and social infrastructure awaited commuters as they readied to climb into a failing and unsafe public transport system or to dodge potholes and unsafe drivers on the road.

My daydream, Mr President, is that my night-dream becomes a reality. That our politicians became woke to their purpose in life and that those who abuse their power, steal from the people or waste our taxes are held accountable and locked up. And that every vacancy in government and municipal corridors becomes filled with skilled, competent and incorruptible people.

My dream, Mr President, is that you will lead us with conviction and a vision that begins with fixing that which we already have. We have more than enough in taxes and willpower to join you on this journey, but we need more say, more transparency and more accountability in how our money is spent.

When we feel your practical belief, ours will rise with you. When you strengthen the rule of law to work faster and lock up those who have stolen from us, our belief will rise higher.

Together, civil society and government can achieve great things as we reposition South Africa’s and Madiba’s dream of our country and its people at the pinnacle of Africa’s growth and occupying leading nation status.

If you help make my dream a reality, Mr President, I’ll share in yours and together sometime in the future, we’ll build new cities and fast trains. 

  • Wayne is a businessman and entrepreneur turned civil activist.

OPINION: Wayne Duvenage