Has Guptagate woken up the ANC?

The one redeeming aspect of this whole sorry saga ("Life in a Guptastan", May 3) is that, for once, the government is showing some resolve to hold those committing an embarrassing error to account. Great, I applaud this, but given the ANC government's long history of shrugging off criticism no matter how justified, they need to do a lot more to prove this is a real change.

How about, for example, some action on nondelivery of school textbooks, bucket toilets in many poorer communities, unnecessary hospital deaths caused by neglect, unpaid teachers, and jobs for unqualified cadres?

What highlights the dysfunction of the ANC is your story of young maths teacher Tim Hutchinson, who is not getting paid for teaching in the deep rural former Transkei ("Uphill battle to fill teaching niche", May 3). With the desperate state of education in the Eastern Cape, this fai-lure is a bigger crime than anything involving landing a private plane at a military airbase. The latter impairs a few senior people's dignity. The former detracts from the right of the poorest of the poor to have access to education.

The problem we have in the Eastern Cape is that the ANC absorbed the Ciskei and Transkei homelands into the new post-apartheid province, and did not question how unreconstructed sellouts running apartheid institutions could possibly competently run services under a democratic constitution.

The ANC needs to change its attitude to critical responses to failures. Most critics don't want the country to fail, and many don't want the ANC to fail. But a refusal to acknowledge any criticism – no matter how valid – is a recipe for failure.

Let's hope this Gupta event is not an exception and presages a change for the better. – Philip Machanick, Grahamstown

Our security, sovereignty, nationhood and intellect have been undermined by these friends of Jacob Zuma and his family.

Our laws were undermined by the Guptas, but who is their role model? These visitors felt that they were above the law and landed at Waterkloof after pulling some strings. When it comes to the undermining of the rule of law and our courts and judiciary, our president is probably the best role model.

We have spent more than R200-million on the private house of the president – welcome to Guptaland! Even Sol Kerzner, who controlled homelands through his investments, did not undermine the Bantustans of chiefs Kaiser Matanzima and Lucas Mangope the way the Guptas are undermining South Africa today. – Benson Makhoba

It is incredible that the Mail & Guardian could produce such a clueless editorial on so-called Guptagate: "It wasn't a very big thing, really, as abuses of state resources go…" Are you guys serious? Or are you so caught up in exposing corruption and "abuses of state resources" that you have no sense of what is at stake when it comes to national security?

This response to the Gupta nuptial invasion reveals a prevalent mentality in South Africa, which – in some ways – is an over-compensatory reaction formation to the "national security management" of the heyday of Afrikaner nationalism. The ruling-class culture of apartheid delegitimised any notion of national security. It is not for nothing that the discourse in South Africa focuses on "national interest", devoid of any consciousness of "national security strategy" and the need for a strong executive with a state machinery that is on top of every facet of its domestic and foreign policy command and control apparatus.

No wonder: the South African state is a siloed, weak state – a managerial confederacy! And this is intimately related to the problem of "abuses of state resources". Who's in control? Is anybody home? Obviously not the M&G! – Francis A Kornegay, Jr


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