“We go where we’re told” – South Coast Herald

An incident that happened last week crystallized for me in an instant exactly why the country is in the state it is in.

Let me sketch the scene for you:

Friday night I was shopping at Oribi Plaza and passed by the Nando store.

I noticed that two local protective services officers and a uniformed SAP officer were aggressively “guarding” three vacant parking spaces just outside the outlet, along with two protective services vehicles marked with proximity.

I was puzzled and thought nothing of it until I drove by a little later to see three luxury Mercedes SUVs backed into the bays, side by side.

There were a number of burly, armed individuals wearing body armor around each vehicle.

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The penny then fell that a group of politicians, most likely local mayors, had decided to “have lunch” at Nando’s, but were unwilling to endure the month-end chaos at the center.

There was so much wrong with this image, especially in the context of the extremely difficult economic times that most citizens are struggling with, it underlined for me (again) and starkly how lucky the political elite are away from the man in the street.

This display of pure political arrogance and entitlement was breathtaking to say the least.

To add insult to injury, if one were to be honest, they are relatively minor politicians, but the need for so much security and luxury was staggering.

If you had to do a quick calculation of the cost of the three vehicles, the security, the drivers and probably the extra staff to carry the bags and the cell phones, as well as the resources that the local municipality had to provide, and put it in looking at the value that three politicians add, how far do you think we would be on the negative scale.

Alarmingly, this whole episode is set against the crumbling state of local government, and yet the incumbents are deaf to the message that such a sort of grandiose display of power sends.

This image is undoubtedly reproduced in one form or another across the country every day.

We had a taste of it with the Minister for Water Affairs and the Premier of the province who visited us at (two) day intervals.

At a meeting I attended at the Ugu Sports and Recreation Center last week, it appeared that the entire Municipality Protective Services Department was present.

I joked with a senior officer that the criminals in town should have fun, and he shrugged and said… “we go where we’re told”.

While the ruling party assiduously presents itself as the only savior of the people, this type of behavior hardly supports this assertion.

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