Sunday, June 30, 2013

Corruption in SA

On Sunday we have a routine: while the kids nap, we lie in bed and read the paper. I love it.

Except that, of late, I have felt demoralized after reading the paper...

The more I read, the more evidence and accusations about corruption (particularly in SA) I see. In this weekend's edition, there is the story about the price-fixing by 5 major construction companies, which involves the tenders for such large structures as the Cape Town stadium in Greenpoint. There's the story about the transport minister who allegedly owes more than a million Rand in unpaid rent for his home. In my own experience there is the issue of how the DBE can spend R12000 to centrally procure a basic laptop for a Dineledi school, when everyone knows they only cost about R4000. (Who, I have to ask, is getting the kick-back?)

Following the Arab Spring, this year's elections in north African countries have seen the youth disillusioned and uninterested, and therefore disenfranchised. Why? Because their attempt to overthrow the corrupt government has fallen on deaf ears, and has seen little real progress. 

Right now, there are huge protests in Brazil, again by the youth, regarding the corruption in government. They've called a major strike across the nation, in all sectors, for tomorrow.

The USA has been seen to be spying on its own people, according to the whistleblower Snowden, twisting laws to be ale to essentially do whatever they like semi-legally. Of course, that smacks of President Zuma's trick of declaring the report about the R20-odd million he has spent on upgrading Nkandla top secret to avoid having to face public scrutiny.

Or what about the police, who are allegedly so corrupt they stop innocent people deliberately in the hopes that they will be offered bribes? How can a nation that is so corrupt at its core ever hope to improve or move forward?

Everywhere I turn, I see corruption, corruption, and more corruption.

On the one hand, I feel I ought to be pleased that it is being exposed, that the media is doing its job in telling the public about these atrocities, and about how politicians and government are misbehaving. Maybe we're hearing abut it more because the media is doing its job better, or because more people are reporting it. Either way, that's got to be a good thing, right? You can't solve a problem you are unaware of.

On the other hand, maybe we're hearing about it more because there is simply more of it. Maybe that too is a feature of there simply being more people in the world now. Governments have always been corrupt, but with there being more people in the world, and more government officials, there is more corruption. 

Whatever the truth, whether there is more corruption, or whether the reporting on corruption is more efficient, I find it demoralizing.

With Mandela basically being on his death bed, as a nation we have been reflecting on his work, and on his person, and have been reminded about being a person of virtue, of integrity, no matter the personal cost. 

How long will we stand by and watch corruption steal the heart of this nation? At what point will we become so incensed with corruption that we take action? Is there a time coming when SA will rise to its feet and protest these gross injustices? And if we do, will that achieve anything? Looking at the Arab Spring protests - what have they really accomplished as far as corruption is concerned? 

Looking back at our own Spring - at the history of the new SA, when freedom was won for all South Africans - we supposedly voted in a government that fought for integrity and ethics, for human rights and freedom for all. That very same government is now shot through with corruption. It steals from its own people in the way that the Apartheid government stole from them - starting with stealing money from the education coffers and thereby denying its own people a chance at improving their own lives.

So, where to from here? With Mandela on his way out, who will stand as the icon of this nation's soul? Who will be the voice that calls us to account? Tutu? Zille? Is there anyone who can stand as the model of who we should be as individuals, and how we should live our lives?

I believe there is only One. Only One to whom we can, and should, be looking. Seeing with eyes not covered by the grace of salvation, with carnal eyes, I become demoralized and hopeless when looking at the world around me. But when I look with eyes covered by grace, eyes that are spiritual, covered by the blood of the One who came to set us free from the corruption that eats into all of our souls, then I see with hope. Then, even as I see all the corruption around me, I do not fall into despair. Instead, I see opportunities for prayer, opportunities for me to bring the freedom Jesus offers into the lives of individuals and organizations.

It seems overwhelming. There is SO MUCH corruption... Where do I begin? How do I begin? While movements like LeadSA are fantastic, and I applaud and support them, they rely on human strength to succeed. No good movement will ever succeed on is own, because human nature is fundamentally flawed, and poisoned, and corrupt. 

It begins, I believe, with self-leadership. I have to model integrity before I can expect others to demonstrate it. I have to overcome the corruption in my own soul first. This, of course, is impossible. That's why there are constantly new self-help books on the market, and new fad religions. People continue to seek truth because they cannot, in their own strength, truly overcome the evil within. 

But there is One who has already done it; One who has already overcome; One who is already pure. What's more, this One has offered to give me that purity, that integrity, that self-leadership - for free. no strings attached. No catches. 

This, I believe, is truly where the battle over corruption will be won: not in new organizational structures, or new organizational procedures, not in a constant calling to account, not in whistle-blowing, not in protests on the streets (although all of those are valuable and necessary). No, I believe it will be won in the quiet revolution inside the individual hearts of men and women who truly encounter Jesus.

Hello... I'm still here...

I've accepted that my blogging this year will be sporadic. I hate it, but such is life. On the priority list of m life, it's not that high when compared with a actually getting out there and living life. I could choose to write what I consider drivel, and write more frequently, but I don't want to read drivel from others, so I don't think I should subject you to that either then.

One of the themes of recent weeks has been enjoying my kids. In the pas few weeks I have had so many moments of sheer pleasure with my kids, just loving them and laughing with them, and watching them grow and develop. Every time I've debated running together my ipad/ camera to record the event, and then share it on the blog, or just enjoy it. As you can tell by the lack of recent posts, I've opted for the latter every time.

In recent weeks I have been reminded that my kids are:
- funny
- sweet
- intelligent
- caring
- beautiful
- cute, cheeky monkeys

If I could capture all the funny things they have said or done, their attempts at teasing, as well as all the tender moments when I've caught them loving each other, being kind to each other, playing sweetly with each other, I think I could have created a daily photo/ video blog that would easily run for a year. 

I have felt such gratitude at being their mother. I haven't done anything to deserve such wonderful children, yet God has blessed me with them never the less.

I have also re-discovered how FULL ON parenting is, and my respect for SAHM's has been renewed. I love my kids, I love weekends and holidays, but I also love my job and getting space from my family. For those whose job is their family, I truly salute you.

For those heading on holidays, have a happy, safe time.