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Complaining to ourselves


It has been a year of spectacular revelations that have left the greedy and corrupt cringing in the shadows of journalistic giants.

Ajay and Atul Gupta File picture: Independent Media

It has been a year of spectacular revelations that have left the greedy and corrupt cringing in the shadows of journalistic giants. 
From the “Guptaleaks”, to the “Panama Papers, to the “President’s Keepers”, 2017 has been a year where the fifth and fourth estate have broken new ground, and many in the media have taken their role of political watchdog very seriously.
Fake news is certainly not a new phenomenon, but largely thanks to a reality TV star with his eyes on Twitter, his head in the clouds and his hair in need of a dry cleaning, society has certainly become more aware of misleading messages in mass communication than ever before. 
This comes at a time when various renditions of reality and fact are coming from every, fathomable direction, leading us to believe we may actually have some sort of input into our own independent thoughts.
Doing your bit to hold powerful people accountable for their actions, irrespective of consequence, is a noble pursuit. But sadly, it is a pursuit claimed by many but generally only practiced by people who would not belittle the efforts of others with cheap lip service. 
Either that or their commitment to opposing evil, not only with words but with action, leaves them relegated to obscurity and irrelevance, as it is easier and more efficient to discredit, demolish and defame a truth-teller than it is to disprove, or disagree with their conviction, or disregard it totally.
Investigations into government corruption and state capture in particular left many in a state of shock; and details of the extent to which we are being robbed blind to pay for Indian weddings in former South African homelands, dairy farms with Hindu financial backers and fire pools for friends, family and followers to splash around in, took many by surprise.
Exposing such wrongdoing may seem heroic to some but it is heresy to others; but ensuring that politicians, pals, promoters and profiteers have nowhere to hide is only half the battle.
OK, so we know the Guptas have most of their fingers in a variety of pies, while the rest of the fingers are clasping the purse strings so tightly that their knuckles are whitening.
We know that Zuma has his pick of multimillion-rand mansions.
We know that the more you follow the money, the more you notice how soft and pale the hands are that are controlling most of it.
We know a lot of things but what are we doing about it?
Like fake news, government greed and perpetuating mass poverty for the personal profit of a select few is nothing new but thanks to a certain wife-collecting connoisseur of criminal activities, with an eye for the ladies and a finger following every word of every script, society has been given insight into exactly how far we have come, or gone, for that matter,
There are many pillars of our community who don’t warrant praise but deserve prison. We have always known this and yet instead of intervening, we complained.
As the ruling party changes leadership, let us not make the mistake of becoming preoccupied with the past.
Yes, the villains who steal from the rich and poor and everyone in-between deserve to be punished, but instead of focusing our attention on those who are rapidly losing their grip on the reins, let’s pay attention to those who are starting to settle into the driver’s seat.
 Instead of calling for Zuma, Rhodes and other relics of the past to fall, let us ensure that those who are destined to follow their example are never allowed to reach any sort of height where all we can do is to pray for them to stumble