There was an article on the street renaming on the front page of the Sunday Tribune yesterday, August 24, 2008, which worries me. It seems that there has been some vandalism of the new street signs which have been going up around town. Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo was reported as saying that there would always be right-wingers who wouldn’t accept transformation and that “if people can’t accept it, tough luck for them”.
The thing is that the people which rule this city apparently don’t get how undemocratic they are being. They are full of the evils of apartheid and yet don’t see that forcibly renaming a street, against the wishes of the people that actually live in it, is a product of the same authoritarian mindset. The statement that “if people can’t accept it, tough luck for them”, sounds like the sort of thing that PW Botha, the Groot Krokodil himself, might have said.
This place is going to end up like Zimbabwe if the ruling party doesn’t manage to “get” democracy soon and abandon its strong tendency to authoritarianism. While on the long-term future of this country (and city), I might as well say that, in my opinion, the ruling party is also going to have to abandon the practice of protecting its own, no matter what. The Zuma case is the prime example and it looks as if we are going to get him as president, irrespective of his guilt or innocence.
No wonder we are losing so many skilled people to emigration.