KENNETH MOKGATLHE: Oh well, welcome to the Republic of Looters!

Welcome to the Republic of Looters. In that world, those who call themselves leaders have no conscience that they would go on to steal water meant for the public. In that country of looters, the public has adopted a new culture of looting where they think it is cool to stop a Shoprite truck and loot whatever was meant to be sold for them to keep the economy afloat.

It is in that country, the Republic of Looters, where those who deem themselves leaders would go on to steal money during a difficult time that the world had seen since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic. Why do we find it easy to call them leaders? They are no longer worthy to be called or treated like leaders, their prime goal is to steal, daily.

A few days after the tragic, heavy floods have destroyed KwaZulu-Natal, the only conversation we are hearing is our fear that the criminals masquerading as politicians will, again, loot money meant to help the victims of this tragic incident.

I am battling to understand the moral navigation of people who would steal money that would help to feed or accommodate helpless people who are still traumatised by such a natural event. What happened to our ubuntu/botho?

Welcome to our Republic of Looters. I was not at all surprised to witness the desperate calls for potential donors to direct donations to charity organisations instead of the government. There is a trust deficit between the people and the ANC-led government, and this situation between the two parties existed from around the end of the 1990s.

We shouldn't be naive to think that the ANC is the popular party to lead the country. Among other factors for the ANC to have been able to keep its power from 1994 are lack of political awareness, lower voter participation, dominant identity politics, and absence of competitive electoral politics. It would be safe to say that ANC thrives on those factors. That is the only explanation for why people decide to keep the party in power.

While the people of KwaZulu-Natal are deliberating on what has happened and how they will pick up the pieces, their premier is worsening the situation by having a water tanker delivered to his private property while poor people, whom the water is meant for, are not a priority. The premier, Sihle Zikalala, looted the water. This is indeed a dog-eat-dog world.

In the Republic of Looters, the looters who are often referred to as leaders have the audacity to blame the previous apartheid government for their criminal behaviour. While everyone accepts that the apartheid regime was based and found on principles of selfishness, it becomes difficult to differentiate it from the ANC-led government.

These looters often insult each other so badly that they would take it further by conspiring to kill to secure power for they know that they will live lavish lifestyles. Those killings and insults do not place the interests of the people anywhere in their sour hearts.

These looters in that country are not afraid of looting money meant for education or health ministries, the very departments have been deemed the cornerstone of every sober democracy around the world. Just like during the disastrous times, our conscience should prohibit us from stealing especially from the vulnerable people whom we claim that we are leading.

This trust deficit between the people and the ANC-led government certainly leads to a legitimacy crisis which might result in some form of rebellious behavior from the people against a government of the day. When the government is not trusted with money, how is it going to be able to manage its affairs?

The ANC is being given many opportunities to redeem itself but keeps flopping every time such opportunities avail themselves.

The party should put security and screening measures to determine who should be its members. They opened their membership too wide, allowing dangerous criminals to even lead the party. The selection of membership should be a vigorous and rigorous process. The ANC should not be desperate to have a large membership because they continue to allow criminals into our public coffers.