The last week has been an exciting one. Over 900k learners in the Western Cape received their report cards depicting the fruits of their labour over the 2015 academic year; Cape Town switched on the festive lights that adorn Adderley street each year; Cape Town stadium hosts the HSBC 7s rugby tournament for the first time to sell out crowds; COP21 appears to draw to a successful conclusion and to crown it all, our president relieves the Finance Minister of his job in the middle of a downward cycle of our country's economy. The fall out of his decision sends our economic indicators spiraling south and all our top commercial banks get downgraded by rating agencies as an extra festive season gift. After initially providing no reasons for his decision, he floats one after 36 hours of market chaos by hinting the minister is being considered for an international investment bank posting. I guess that's why he needed to be fired the other night! Now if anyone predicted such a potpourri of highlights a week ago, I would've laughed.
Many commentators have posited that the president's motives are sinister given his cabinet did not even know about the announcement. They further argue that the SAA-Airbus deal and the one trillion Rand nuclear power stations procurement are the primary drivers for the sacking of the minister. He very clearly didn't believe the country could afford this; it appears the president disagreed. Many also claim the president is feeding cronyism and self interest given his relationships with key individuals. It all sounds like a bloody mess! And we are paying a heavy price for it. Warnings are already sounding that 2016 is going to be a tough one for South African consumers.
The problem with all of this drama is that it exists in other arenas of our society too, not just the political one. If we strip away the political characters but keep at the centre of the story cronyism, self interest, nepotism and "kingmakers", this narrative could easily be dropped into many of our school environments.
Many schools live by the same game plan. SMTs believe they have divine rights that supersede the rights of others, SGB members exercise their power to create turmoil and push preferred candidates for posts (without pedigree at times) or conclude service provider arrangements with themselves to supply institutions they serve.
The coffers of the school is theirs to manage and often plunder. We often come across governors and managers with their hands "deep-in-the-till", all in the name of the community. Some school managers are happy to cover the truth with lies. And our communities are as gullible as our voting public...we swallow this corruption and deviancy as if it's a necessary requirement to make progress.
There are teachers too that don't believe they are accountable for learner outcomes and some have no qualms when found out that assessments were not even marked!
The tragedy of our inaction or lethargy to respond to this kind of behaviour is going to be felt a generation from now, when the many young people watching the games-that-adults-play in the name of the welfare of children become the adults who must move us forward. At that point they will reflect on the examples they witnessed and model the same if not refine it.
To the many who do not fall into the category in this post, please continue to keep the candle of hope burning and carry it with pride. I fear if you and I don't, the hyenas in society will have free reign and destroy our heritage.