High price paid when party put first, people second
The Times Editorial: Sipho Pityana, in the hard-hitting article opposite, warns that Marikana represents a turning point for South Africa. He cautions that the "state of emergency" that has been in existence since the violence there demonstrates "the duplicitous role of the government and its security forces".
Pityana joins an increasingly vocal minority of former anti-apartheid leaders, such as Mamphela Ramphele, Barney Pityana, Njabulo Ndebele and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who have, over the past few years, expressed their concern about the direction South Africa is taking.
In an opinion piece in October last year, Ramphele urged South Africans into activism against anti-democratic legislation such as the info bill and the traditional courts bill.
"The capture of the state by a ruling party through the conflation of the person of the president, the government and the state, are at the heart of the culture of impunity," Ramphele wrote. "Our potential for greatness is trapped by the plunder of state resources and a culture of mediocrity that characterises our public service. The focus on the interests of the ruling party undermines service for the common good."
Reuel Khoza has invoked the ire of The Presidency and of senior ANC members by publicly questioning the "strange breed" of political leaders in South Africa.
Pityana's brother, Barney, was the target of a barrage of criticism from the Union Buildings last month when he questioned President Jacob Zuma's leadership and priorities.
That is the stock government and ruling party response - spew invective at whoever criticises them.
But being thin-skinned will serve no purpose. South Africa is in crisis - whether due to the aftermath of Marikana or because of the ANC leaders in the government.
Ignoring the concerns of those who fought for this country's liberation is petty, short-sighted and defensive.