Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dear Mr. Jacob Zuma

Did you notice that The President of the United States happens to be a black guy?
That is right. I am playing the race card in the first sentence of this open letter to you and now that it's out of the way, I can get right to the crux of the matter, hopefully, without being labelled a racist.
The reason I am writing to you is to discuss the single biggest problem in South Africa and to compare your approach in dealing with this problem to the approach taken by the President of the United States to deal with his problems. We all know how easy it is to travel down the race road and I do not want anyone to confuse criticism with racism.
Before I proceed, I want to point out that it is generally accepted than Mr. Obama is a very busy man and therefore I would find it hard to believe someone like you cannot rise to the same stature.
HIV has infected some people, and others have TB. Some South African citizens do not have adequate shelter, and others might not have a job. Some cannot read and others cannot drive. Poor service delivery affects some and a lack of clean water others.
However, let me tell you Mr. Zuma: Crime is affecting everyone in this beautiful country.
You will not find a single person in South Africa that has not been targeted by thugs. Not a single one.
Can you please then go on national television as well as on every other radio station and tell us why you are not stopping every single thing you are working on to address this problem?
Increasing the police from 150 000 to 200 000? Is that a response? Why can you not increase the police force to one million then? Why not? Do not tell us it is because of money - we will pay whatever it takes to wipe out the criminal.
Nevertheless, think about it: If the number of police officers will make a difference, then you can mathematically increase the numbers until there is no crime.
However, the problem is not in the numbers - it is in the commitment. Your commitment.
Unless you change your commitment, you will never ever solve the problem of crime in your life.
By talking and not acting, you and every other president after you will fall in the same trap that all the previous African leaders fell in. The real reason why the African continent will never prosper is not due to lack of resources, or any other excuse that you can think of. It is the failure to do what needs to be done in order to solve the problem.
At this point in South African history, crime is the problem and you Mr. Zuma need to make this your responsibility.
Why do you not start by making a courtesy call every morning at 08:00 to each family that has lost a member due to crime (that must read murdered!) in the last 24 hours?
You see, you cannot, because you will need to make 123 calls on average every single day for the rest of your term. That is people murdered Mr. Zuma, we have not even started with girls raped at gunpoint or those lucky ones who survived the gunshot or the stab wound.
Can you imagine the public outcry in America should CNN report that 123 soldiers are being killed every day in the so-called war on terror? Do you think Mr. Obama will pitch up to deliver a speech to the youth leader summit as you did last week?
No, he will not. He will roll up he's sleeves and do something about it.
What you need to do now is to stop the murdering of innocent people in South Africa with all your means and I mean ALL YOUR MEANS.
Where is the army? Where are the roadblocks? Where are the patrols that we have seen so frequently in the Apartheid Era? Where is the curfew after sunset? Where is your doing something Mr. President?
Stop wasting your time. Someone else can facilitate the problem of job targets in the public works sector. Someone else can address the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
You need to spend your time in your war room against crime.
You need to be on Morning Live, Y-FM, Facebook and Twitter every morning, informing the people of South Africa that the crime figure is down with 0,5% from yesterday. You need to be in your armoured car driving around town motivating the police to turn the tide.
That is what Mr. Barack Obama is doing - he is rolling up he's sleeves and he is fixing the things that needs to be fixed. Mr. Obama is talking to the people, he is getting on TV and he using the Internet to get the message out and the job done.
Why can you not inform us every Sunday in a recorded broadcast what you have done about crime this week? The people of South Africa insist to hear you living and breathing, eating and drinking the problem of crime.
Mr. Zuma, do not fool yourself and do not think that you can fool others: Your excuses of limited resources will only be accepted if your cabinet stop spending on luxuries.
The lack of competent skills will only be accepted once you have appointed every graduate in this country.
The problem with corrupt officials will only be solved by putting them in jail in lieu of paid leave.
Until you do something about this culture of crime, others will view you as just another African President of a banana republic, with the only exception: you cannot even blame the past because just up the road, a black guy is making it all happen!
Jaco du Plessis