'We have to do something to save SA,' plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'

Here's what's hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

25 September 2020 - 07:01 By TimesLIVE
Former Post Office boss Mark Barnes. He has a great passion for SA and has a lot to say.
Former Post Office boss Mark Barnes. He has a great passion for SA and has a lot to say.
Image: KOPANO TLAPE/GCIS

It is just more than a year since Mark Barnes left the Post Office. After about four years in which he slowly steered the institution back on course, he suddenly left. 

He doesn't want to say much about why he gave up and is not giving his opinion about the Post Office begging the government for another R4.9 billion. 

But he does have a lot to say.

Barnes is a lekker guy to interview. He is a good storyteller and not a single dull platitude escapes his lips. And his passion for SA runs like sauce through every word he utters. 

He is a diplomat, but when he talks about fixing things, the diplomat takes a back seat and the words fall like an axe.

“Government institutions are strange beasts,” he says. “Dependence and submission are welcomed, independence is frowned upon. There are exceptions, but often you see a toxic mix of incompetence and power here. Failure is a safe haven, a place to hide. There is a mentality of 'if we want to be safe, we must all fail together'." 

Read more about Barnes' suggestions for SA, as well as more news and analysis in this week's edition of Afrikaans digital weekly Vrye Weekblad.


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He says we know what to do to fix things. 

It is a humanitarian conversation, he says, not an economic one. The only way out of this mess is to give people hope.

“Don't come to me with 'long term' and 'sustainable' and all those words when we talk about solutions for SA. We have to start doing something for a change, and we have to recklessly throw our resources at the problem. 

“We don't need a 30-page case study about getting toilets to South Africans. It is simple: dig holes, chuck cement in, lay pipes and there, we have toilets. The shrill reality of our divided society does not need further economic analysis. It is blatantly clear what needs to be done, so why aren't we just doing it?” he asks.

Read the full article in this week's Vrye Weekblad


Must-read articles in this week's Vrye Weekblad

GORDHAN'S MESS | The “new” SAA is driven by vanity, politics and a belief in state-driven economic development. The airline has always been unsustainable, and will always be. 

IS THE COVID APP WATCHING YOU? | Don't be afraid to download government's Covid-19 app – it could be useful, and there is about zero chance of it letting some sort of evil into your life. 

THE PHENOMENAL LIFE OF AGENT RS536 | Tax bloundhound Johann van Loggerenberg's new book, Cop Under Cover, just hit the shelves. It reads like a thriller, writes Jacques Pauw.

BOEKBEDONNERD! | This week we discuss books old and new that made us sit up and pull an all-nighter. 

FREE TO READ — PIETER-DIRK TURNS 75 | On the eve of this 75th birthday, our favourite satirist tells us he feels better than at 65, 55, 45 and 13. “The audition is over. The disease to please is cured.” 


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