By Esinako Hintsa
Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Mbuyiseli Madlanga, Chris Jafta and Khaya Dlanga are a few of the many leaders born and bred in the Eastern Cape and that’s what makes me proud to be born in this beautiful province. Sadly all its beauty fades when you see the challenges it faces: poverty, Aids, a poor education system, corruption, fraud, the list is endless. One may argue that all of South Africa faces the same challenges and therefore the Eastern Cape isn’t different from the rest of the country and I agree, the entire country is a mess.
Unfortunately I don’t live in KwaZulu-Natal or the Western Cape, I live in the poverty-stricken Eastern Cape therefore I will speak of the challenges we face here, now. I live in the small, dusty, dirty, over-populated, crime-ridden, poverty-stricken town of Mthatha. A town situated a couple of kilometres away from the birthplace of former president Nelson Mandela.
One would assume the Eastern Cape would be one of the most powerful and developed provinces today since it yielded so many internationally acclaimed leaders but unfortunately this is not the case. This province is at a standstill, development is slow or there is none at all. Who do I blame for this? The former government for not ploughing back when it had the chance? Our current government for being greedy, power-hungry and corrupt? Our local municipal officials for not developing our towns and using state money to better their own lives and educate their own children while the rest suffer in poverty?
Those lucky enough to escape poverty almost never plough back into their communities, only a select few do. Then there are those who steal and cheat from the needy. More than half of Mthatha’s population is poor. It’s appalling that there are people in this town who live in expensive houses, drive expensive cars. I’m not saying people shouldn’t use their “hard-earned” money to live their luxurious lives but Mthatha remains one of the most corrupt towns in the country.
Too many smart people in one town will bankrupt the province. Whoever is in charge of our infrastructure is clearly not doing his or her job. It doesn’t take a genius to see that some shady business is going on and even though our president keeps talking about eradicating corruption, it’s clear he has no intention of enforcing any measures to wipe it out. It’s no secret that our very own president is a shady character, we then expect the very same man to enforce measures to wipe out corruption and fraud? I don’t see that happening.
Therefore I ask and I’m sure many others have asked this very same question, is development ever coming? Is it on its way? If it’s coming is it at least anywhere close? What is the plan for small rural towns like Flagstaff, Lusikisiki, Port St Johns etc? While we wait for our government to empower the rural Eastern Cape the economy is declining, people are getting poorer, crime rate’s increasing, education is declining, there is no science behind this, it’s logic and it’s painful. So now we wait, we wait until someone will eventually notice the need for change. Unfortunately South Africa will not change because Helen Zille bashes he ANC for every little thing it does wrong. Change will commence when someone competent, someone who understands the needs of the nation, someone with no hidden agenda steps up and implements change.
Yes the ANC reigns supreme but it’s not doing a good job. I am by no measure politically active but I’m politically aware and like any other person who can read, listen and see, South Africa is poor, uneducated, dying, struggling, corrupt, fraudulent and only serves to benefit a select few and those related.
Esinako Hintsa is an LLB student at the Walter Sisulu University.