At the risk of sounding like an opportunistic politician in some township or village in North West, campaigning for votes at a funeral, swearing on his mother soul that the culprit shall be brought to justice; ‘We shall make sure that perpetrator is brought to justice. I will personally see to it that he receives the full might of the law’, uttered so emphatically in that beautiful, distinct, raw South African native accent. So do allow me to express my disappointment at the situation in the rural town of Kuruman-my beloved hometown-of kids not being allowed to attend school for four months resulting in them being behind with their academic work. I wish to condemn what is the in the eyes of logic selfish in the strongest of words.
In case the reader has been scrapping at the bottom of the barrel of ignorance-an act that is no longer a surprise given that South Africans have an insular tendency of not caring about matters of importance-let me briefly explain why kids from the villages of Kuruman in the Northern Cape were barred from attending school. On the 4th of June 2014 children from various schools in the district of the John Taolo Gaetsewe Municipality-the biggest municipality in Kuruman-were prevented from attending classes by members of Road Forum, a community organisation that is leading efforts for the terrible roads in the outskirts of Kuruman to be tarred. They prevented children from going to school to signal their anger with the horrible state of roads in those areas, and of course to get the attention of the soporific government officials. Majority of the members of the Road Forum are in fact parents of these kids who now have to repeat the entire year next year. My people have been waiting for tarred roads and other services that were promised by the ruling party prior to the ascending of former president Thabo Mbeki to highest office on the land in 1999. Dreams of those Matriculants who were hoping to be commencing their tertiary education at various institutes of higher learning in 2015 have been momentarily halted. Perhaps an important lesson for them and the rest of the learners in junior grades is that in reality life has robots. Sometimes you have to stop but it does not mean you have to give in as the light will eventually turn green.
As much as many would like to ignore what is currently happening in my hometown, reality is what is happening in Kuruman is a classic disease of what has taken place in South Africa since the dawn of democracy. If memory serves you well you will recall Ficksburg in Free State, Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga, Bekkersdal in Gauteng or Khayelitsha in Western Cape and so many more. This will continue to happen if this problem is not resolved. While we strongly rebuke the uneducated actions of those who are preventing children from attending classes and destroying property in Kuruman we should avoid the risk of doing so blindly without getting to the root of the problem. I will not be shy to point where the problem arises. Our beloved African National Congress (ANC), the People’s Movement has to shoulder the blame. The issue of tarring roads should not have degenerated to this level whereby the future of children had to suffer. Kuruman is wealthy in minerals with 48% of the world’s iron ore coming from this rural town. Every year each department is allocated funds to meet the services needed by the communities but we have seen no difference in the past 20 years save for electricity there and there. Now the question we have to ask is what happens to the millions of rands that are supposed to benefit the great masses of our people?
I am extremely disappointed in my people that they had to employ these measures to express their frustrations in this manner but the blame should entirely go to the doors of the ANC. From the John Taolo Gaetsewe Municipality, the provincial government and the national government; I cannot even begin to say how embarrassed I am. Shame on you, shame on you all. After four months of the protest the Minister of Transport Mme Dipuo Peters announced that the mere 130km stretch of road that the Road Forum pleaded for initially in 2012 will start to be built somewhere between the end of September 2014 or the beginning of October 2014; this is after her counterpart Minister of Basic Education Mme Angie Motshekga had been sent packing by the community. Knowing my people they probably told her directly, ‘Boela ko o tswang Angie.’ One has to wonder if Mme Dipuo was not just saying that because she had egg on her face, hoping to shut the media up and calm the high-flying passions of my people or she was indeed genuine in her promises. There is a Setswana saying that I believe captures my doubts perfectly: ‘E tla re re ke dipitse re di bone ka mebala.’ We will just have to wait and see. Kgotsong!