On Friday, the Cape Argus (12 August) carried, yet again, one of Archbishop Tutu’s inane rants that white people be subjected to a wealth tax. Why would he say this when white people already bear the brunt of most taxation in South Africa? Secondly, he said that had this been imposed at the time of the Truth Commission, it would have made a difference, which itself is an admission that the TRC failed with reparations, which if the truth be told, was never its priority. The Commissioners closed the TRC with a whopping severance package which, given their mission and failure to achieve it, was a scandalous way to end the TRC.
The TRC ranks as one of the world’s best efforts at reconciliation, when in fact it failed spectacularly to achieve social justice, compensation and reconciliation. It was nothing but a show trial promising absolution to those who confess while exposing the pain and indignity black people suffered at the hands of the apartheid regime. Today apartheid has been defeated, yet the ANC government fails to take responsibility for its failure to improve education, for reducing poverty, for creating jobs, for effective service delivery, and for crime prevention. Tutu’s rant is tantamount to blaming white people for the failure of this government.
As usual, the Cape Argus continually gives the Arch headlines when on page three a much more worrying report should have received prominence. In the report, Premier Helen Zille reveals that more than 50 percent of primary school children at South Peninsula tested positive for drugs. This is the tip of the iceberg and points to a country that has failed its youth, resulting in fatherless households, gross youth unemployment, high rates of criminality, and an education system that is one of the worst in the world. The levels of drug abuse at schools are shocking and account for the low levels of education reached by coloured kids on the Cape Flats.
If SA ranks 130th out of 139 countries regarding our education system, then people like Tutu who keeps receiving international awards should focus his gaze where it matters and should stop singling out white people as the problem in this country, and Israel as the problem in the world.
For eleven years Impumelelo has been awarding innovative projects that improve the quality of life of the poor. Hundreds of white people who have been ejected from the system through racism and affirmative action have reinvented themselves and are doing the most amazing work in the non-profit and NGO sectors. They run income-generation projects, they command vast armies of volunteers who tackle the HIV/AIDS and TB pandemics, and they are responsible for vast pockets of social development that the ANC government should be doing. I can give facts and figures to prove it, not least to point to white business men and women who put money into the education of black youth unlike the majority of the black elite who enjoy their ill-gotten wealth with rank consumerism.
Impumelelo shows equally, that ordinary black people run an incredible range of development projects in both urban and rural settings, especially in areas where government has failed and do nothing. But this is mostly in the NGO sector.
Tutu, wrongly, keeps on targeting white South Africa, when black business does very little to contribute to the growth and development of this country. To demand a wealth tax from whites, firstly is racist. Secondly it is irresponsible, when Julius Malema allegedly received a R51 million tender through nefarious means. To demand a wealth tax from white people when the ANC government gives R2.5 billion of South African taxes to King Mswati 111, dictator and polygamist, beggars belief. To demand a wealth tax from whites when the recent Mail & Guardian reveals that President Jacob Zuma’s son-in-law, Lonwabo Sambudla, is allegedly involved in a R1 billion tender for new government office space, is obscene. Through the so-called Billion Group, to which Sambudla allegedly has connections, the ruling elite continues to steal taxpayers’ money with ruthless and unashamed greed.
The time has come for Archbishop Tutu to recognise SA for what it is and how he as a leader, together with those who claim the anti-apartheid moral high ground, have failed to create a democracy that cannot provide the most basic of socio-economic rights to black people.