Where are our leaders as the fires of discontent rage?
The Times Editorial: The wheels have come off and the passengers are stranded in the middle of nowhere. This is the sentiment being expressed in the midst of the continuing education crisis in Northern Cape, where 41 schools have been closed since June following a service-delivery protest.
Adults in the Taolo Gaetsewe district, where the protest is raging, are demanding tarred roads and have, in their wisdom, shut down the schools. Those leading the protest say they have no option but to close down the municipality following unfulfilled promises.
Aubrey Itumeleng, one of the leaders, was bold in his utterances: "... We decided to take to the streets to fight because that is the only language our government understands."
These words are being repeated everywhere across the country these days. The high numbers of service-delivery protests are alarming.
As the fires of discontent rage in the streets of Kuruman and other communities across the country, our leaders are dithering, unable to confront the issues facing them.
The national Department of Education is unable to open the schools while the acting premier could only threaten those behind the service-delivery strike with arrest. Like a scratched compact disc, the acting premier, Grizelda Cjiekella, said the violence in the area, under the guise of service-delivery protests, had "underlying political undertones".
Though she might be right in her assessment, the fact is that political leadership could have prevented this disaster.
Like absentee landlords, our leaders appear surprised when those they claim to represent revolt. Where were the premier, the MEC for education, when the first week went by without schooling?
The failings of government schools are giving space to big business to build private schools. But the losers in this will be children in poor communities whose parents will be in no position to send them to these schools.