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US President Abraham Lincoln once said that “What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself”. That might be a portent of the future for our leaders in the ANC.
The favourite pastime of many of our politicians these days seems to be the photo-opportunity.
Thankfully, the days are past of ministers posing before the cameras in camouflage apparel preparing to go to war with the coronavirus.
Yet PR stunts are very much the order of the day for the ANC as it tries to sell the country the increasingly tired image of the party being the saviour of South Africa.
Publicity hogs, like Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, sniff out news stories wherein they can insert their visages and proclaim themselves to be rescuing the country from the evil du jour … be that rail infrastructure looters or racist school teachers.
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In the process, of course, millions of rands get squandered on events which don’t actually make people’s lives any better, although they undoubtedly do make the politicians feel good.
The latest blatant waste of taxpayers’ money in pursuit of an ego boost was the twisted process to send an SAA Airbus A340-600 to Brussels last month to collect our first Covid-19 vaccines.
The R6 million flight was unnecessary because we could have had the vials transported here for much less on a commercial cargo flight.
That is gross abuse of the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, which defines “fruitless and wasteful expenditure” as “expenditure which was made in vain and would have been avoided had reasonable care been exercised”.
The flight had a near accident, allegedly through the error of rusty pilots. But at least the ANC got the photos showing that it’s wonderful.
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