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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

A VIEW OF THE WEEK: Government has mastered the illusion of being ‘too busy’ – and so have you

Ubuntu used to mean helping each other keep the rules of society intact, but now too often means supporting one another when you break it.

In a cemetery lies the grave of a man who was always in a rush. His tombstone reads: “I can’t stop now, I’m late.”

“Being busy” is a national pastime that has excused politicians and traffic rules alike. To see it in action, all you need to do is head outside.

An example of this was Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu bunking a recent briefing she was supposed to give alongside her Communications colleague Mondli Gungubele to update the nation on the devastating Postbank social grant glitch.

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Gungubele said Zulu was “in transit” and unable to make it, despite overwhelming calls for her to account properly for the debacle or fall on her sword. He repeated the excuse several times during the Press conference, perhaps to convince us and himself that such an absence was acceptable.

I hope she was not in the same transit that saw Deputy President Paul Mashatile drive on as the VIP protection officers responsible for him beat up men on the side of the highway.

The minister prioritising other things over accountability and transparency is nothing new. A few hours earlier, my conversation with another high-ranking government official was punctured by the suggestion he was far busier than I was and could not provide comment on a burning national topic.

‘I am very busy’

“Things might be stable where you are, but, for me, I am very busy”.

The bold and condescending assumption that you are too busy to account to those whose votes got you your job is another reminder of how out of touch those in power often are.

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It is a plague that has infected even those not in politics.

I was involved in an accident last month which was caused by an impatient driver who tried to overtake, into oncoming traffic.

Rules of the road, and of engaging others, are overlooked because we see there are often no consequences and “being busy” is a valid excuse.

The fish of moral decay rots from the head down, and when those who are answerable to the nation rush their way out of responsibility, law enforcement becomes a blunt tool citizens no longer fear.

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Ubuntu used to mean helping each other keep the rules of society intact, but now too often means supporting one another when you break it.

Anarchy follows, and old men once in power sit complaining about the state of what we have become.

Perhaps there is no time to look back at the mess we all had a part in, because we’re all “too busy”.