Straight and Two Beers: Daydreams get us nowhere, Mr President

“Disease outbreaks such as the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal are made far worse in situations of poor governance, weak management and poor maintenance of infrastructure.

We have the responsibility – and are determined – to remedy those shortcomings in a sustainable way and as a matter of urgency.”

Those are the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa following the outbreak of cholera, which claimed more than 20 lives.

The president visited the blighted area recently, a stone’s throw away from the Union Buildings, from where he wields power.

He met with community members and promised that their water woes were receiving attention. The issue is that the problems at Hammanskraal are not new. Indeed Hammanskraal is only a microcosm of what is happening across the country.

Sewer spillages are common in dysfunctional municipalities, from Giyani to Qwawa, Mthatha to Sebokeng and those who are elected don’t give a toss about fixing the problem.

Hammanskraal is only attracting attention because people died from drinking untreated and filthy water provided by the municipality.

The president states the obvious when he blames lack of maintenance for causing disease that killed people, but who should be held responsible? The buck stops with him after all.

Still in Gauteng, the sewer spillages into the Vaal River at Sedibeng municipality are well documented.

Complaints by residents have fallen on deaf ears and they have learnt to live with the stench.

Even our defence force was roped in to unblock sewer plants in Sedibeng and as soon as they left the brown stuff bubbled onto the streets.

Moving on, the president also met with the business community, where he told them the energy and rail crises were being attended to.

The president, who headed a war room to resolve lack of electricity generation back in 2014, promised the business suits that he had everything under control. He also knows that persistent loadshedding hampers economic growth and job creation.

However, the last thing you will expect from the politician is the admission that he is up the creek without a paddle.

This is the president who dreams about smart cities and fast trains.

However, it starts with basics, such as filling potholes, providing potable water and plugging leakages.

But don’t hold your breath.

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