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Not a one-man show

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Instead of protesting, lets come together, take matters into our own hands, and make our city work.

I don’t know if it is just me … but have you noticed some sportsmen in some sporting codes trying to win a match on their own? Obviously this is only applicable in team sports. 

I have watched many a cricket match where a batsman, towards the end, and the situation is tight, tries to bash every ball out of the park. 

It doesn’t matter that there is an easy single on offer – and remember every run counts – no, he has decided he is going to get the team over the line. Out of those last six balls, he swings and misses 95 percent of the time.

Now his partner on the other end, a tail-ender, is watching this. It’s down to the last two balls and six runs need to be scored. The established batsman finally accedes to a single and the tail-ender smashes the winning runs off the last ball.

We see it in soccer as well. Where the player with the ball decides he is going to run with it, in spite of the fact that he has at least four teammates he can pass the ball to and six defenders are approaching at lightning-fast speed. Seriously? Just pass the friggin’ ball. 

Then just when he decides his individual run for glory is coming to nought, he finally tries to pass the ball, but it’s too late.

When these scenarios play out, urgh, I get frustrated beyond frustration. It is, after all, a team sport, unlike tennis where it is just you and your opponent.

I have found myself in very similar situations where something needs to be done and I have a host of people I can delegate it to, but I prefer to do it myself. With that comes consequences. You either stuff up or you don’t get the job done. Or you delegate and the team just stuffs up royally.

But, if you start out with the team and things go haywire, you have to take a stand and just do it yourself.

This is precisely what has happened in the tiny town of Harrismith in the Free State. I watched an interesting story from the BBC recently on Harrismith. The video shows the town rocked by violent service delivery protests. Oh, are we not all too familiar with this scenario. 

I honestly can’t tell you how many protests we had last week.

Anyway, be that as it may … the protests in Harrismith reached a point of residents being without power for 12 days at a time. The municipality there is cash-strapped, like many others in the country. It also owes Eskom millions.

As a result, residents have taken to the streets to voice their anger and frustration. But, as the days rolled by, a group of residents got tired of taking to the streets daily, only for their voices not to be heard, and decided enough was enough and took matters into their own hands.

They decided to start fixing the leaking water pipes, they found a way to deal with the sewage and they started fixing the potholes themselves. Once businesses in the area started noticing what these residents were doing, they decided to come on board and help.

So within a couple of weeks this group was slowly starting to turn things around in this little town.

OK, I now hear that all their efforts are being thwarted by the municipality. 

The municipality is now making it impossible for the residents to fix up their ailing town by blocking access to vital points.

I honestly think we can learn a lesson out of this. We come together in 100s to protest, so let’s take those 100s and use the skills they possess and turn our city around. Although our unemployment figures won’t change, we will at least be making a difference in our daily lives.

This needs to be a ‘team sport’ not a ‘run of individual brilliance’ by one entity. Together we can do it!