Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The State of Our Republic is in the hand of disinterested fools.

South Africans are always up in arms about something, perpetually shouting our wants and needs at our politicians, who continue to treat us as children. How do we take control of our lives and our futures? It's clearly not enough for us to vote in order to make a change. We aren't uneducated half-wits who are oblivious to the issues that arise when running a country but we all know that they, the politicians and people in power, could serve us better.

I once had much respect for Helen Zille and the DA till I tweeted her in March to voice my concerns about the state of Hout Bay, which in my opinion is the bastard child of Cape Town. She simply said "What is with Hout Bay? ... "Yho, one complaint after another."

Asking anything from politicians always seems to feel like begging. They need to keep in mind that WE voted them into power; WE pay their salaries and fund their lifestyles, not the other way around. It is their responsibility to do their utmost to ensure we live in a clean and safe society.

So yes, I will voice my objections, dammit, and you will hear me and you will respond, politely, not exasperated, like I'm a child tugging at your skirts. We are not 'complaining', we are telling you where and what the problems are, we are saying that we need this to change because our lives are becoming unbearable.
I'm using Hout Bay as an example because I believe it is a microcosm of South Africa. In this small valley, we have rich people, extremely poor people, blacks, whites, coloureds, Asians and Africans who have emigrated here, who live in flats, mansions, shacks that drive laanie cars, cars that clearly aren't road worthy, public transport and some even use trolley's as their mode of transport. We shop at Woolworths, Checkers, Spar and markets. We eat out, we eat KFC and we eat pap. The gaps between class, whether racial or not, are obvious.

We have one informal settlement, Imizamo Yethu, to the west and to the south we have the flats of Hangberg on the Sentinel, in between lie the expensive, gated communities of the filthy rich. Hout Bay is where poverty and wealth collide.

And those that live in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu are living in a disgraceful state. The streets are filthy, there is little or in some cases no waste management. There is SHIT in the streets, lady. I’m pretty sure when you walk your dog down the street; there isn’t human faeces beneath your feet. You are forcing locals off the mountains, tearing down their shacks but not replacing them with homes.
And don’t tell me you’ve tried to improve conditions because if you really made an effort this mess would have been cleaned up. We wouldn’t be living looking over our shoulders, manically safety conscious, terrified of savagery, people wouldn’t have to resort to violence to survive.
Crime is so rife in Hout Bay that it’s impossible to function as a free person. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, you will be attacked. Last month I witnessed a young girl being beaten up by two men; her fingernails were bleeding from trying to fight off her attackers. They wanted her cell phone. It was midday. The police, who are so fuck-dumb, that when you call the Hout Bay police station and give them directions to the scene of the crime, they don’t know where it is, or worse they don’t even turn up. Our neighbours seem to be our only source of protection; vigilantism is our saving grace here.

Every morning, just in Empire Street, which is considered to be a relatively safe place to live, a car’s window is smashed, or it’s sitting on bricks because it’s been rid of its tyres.

And that’s just the basics. I won’t even mention the insane escalation in house robberies, rape and violence.

Hout Bay used to be a beautiful place, a peaceful harbour town, if you took more interest in it, it could be just as magnificent as Llandudno or Camps Bay (and maybe even women could walk in the street without being accosted).
When we say we need better trained policemen, we aren’t complaining, when we ask you to assist the Rape Crisis from closing down, we are not complaining, when we say we hate the class divide and we want all people to have the same living conditions, we are not complaining, when we ask you ANYTHING, you should respond with this answer;

“Thank you for telling me about this problem, I’m going to do my utmost to sort it out.” (And then deliver on your promises).

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