PATRICK BULGER | Let the people’s voice be heard when councils get that spending feeling

The R15m sports facility is just another example of ANC profligacy gone mad

07 October 2021 - 19:25

The Ancient Roman emperors gave bread and circuses to the masses to retain their loyalty but gifting a community a new stadium in which to host the circuses and eat the bread could be a uniquely South African twist to an old political trope. The phrase “bread and circuses” is attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal, who wrote: “The People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” It could have been written for us.

The R15m sports facility unveiled by people in ANC regalia in front of a handful of spectators at Lesseyton, northwest of Komani, formerly known as Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, has been widely parodied on social media. Predictably, the municipality denies this was an election stunt that backfired, providing a list of items that consumed the cash. The unwitting beneficiaries are residents of the ANC-run Enoch Mgijima local municipality. They gave the ANC a whopping 73% of the vote in the last local government elections in 2016. The municipality has since fallen on hard times, and has twice been placed under provincial administration...

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