/ 20 October 2017

Letters to the editor: October 20 to 26 2017


Free black people’s minds

Twenty-three years into democracy, many challenges persist for South Africa. Inequality has risen, and the economy is still run and managed by white capital.

Although South Africans are becoming more radical — asking critical questions about land, policies and the restructuring of the economy — there is an important element missing: the restructuring of the mind, especially the black mind.

For years black people around the globe have been on the receiving end of harsh, unequal and inhumane policies, which has contributed enormously to the underdevelopment of black people around the world.

Apart from this underdevelopment and the lack of clear, decisive economic policies, we need to look at the psychological damage caused by slavery, colonialism, apartheid and now neoliberal society.

The restructuring of the economy is of utmost importance, but without conscientising the black mind, real freedom will always be a mirage.

We can transform the economy and give black people access to funding for them to be the owners of the economy, but if the black mind still believes that what is created by whites is superior, our economic freedom won’t work.

Years of oppression have not only caused major socioeconomic problems for black people, but have also damaged us psychologically.

We need to restructure the black mind to stand up for itself, and to stop doing things to show we can be just like white people.

There are plenty of examples that indicate how damaged the black mind is. For instance, a black person will laugh at another black person for failing to speak English well. And we refer to black people with money as “mlungu” or “ngamla”, which simply means white person.

We need to restructure the black mind, to make it what we want it to be, and forge a new way of thinking for ourselves — instead of our thinking being simply an answer to our oppression.

Restructuring the mind means changing the education system and moving away from the colonised curriculum we’re currently taught.

It seeks to keep us trapped within the current status quo. — Modibe Modiba, Benoni

Auditors, find your ethics

The “Stop hounding auditors” letter in defence of the auditing profession is ill-timed and disturbing.

The author argues that they are an honourable profession. Maybe.

The KPMG exposures are a long overdue revelation of what goes on behind the scenes involving the profession. “Profession” implies honesty, transparency and integrity.

It is what the public expects from members of a profession. It would have been more appropriate for the writer to call for auditors to take time out and seriously examine and consider whether they are all still guided by ethical standards.

The more one hears today about what goes on behind the scenes involving auditors and their clients, the more dismayed one becomes about how compromised their standards have become.

The writer should recognise that the public in South Africa today is increasingly suspicious of the compromised role auditors appear to be playing.

My father taught me never to trust a politician. Today he would question the integrity of auditors. The profession is in danger of losing its credibility. We are more than highly suspicious of public servants, the boards of state-owned enterprises and businesspeople. It is as though it is acceptable to play sleight of hand to get rich. The reason is clear. Corruption and self-enrichment through office are rampant.

Our problem is that the auditing profession appears too often to be avoiding the dirty hands. That is why Thuli Madonsela, the one-time public protector, was so respected. She fulfilled her office without fear and made enemies from the president down.

That courage and integrity is what the public expects from the auditing profession.

We want them to help to save us from an increasingly corrupt South Africa, where billions of rands are siphoned off that could be used to uplift the masses and build a new South Africa.

Auditors may argue that is not their role. But they are a form of public protector.

The new South Africa must be built on honesty, integrity and transparency. That is the challenge to the auditing profession. That is what the public expects of them. — Ron Legg, Hillcrest

South Africa, say no to NDZ

After reading Paddy Harper’s excellent piece on Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, “Return the land to our people — NDZ”, I can only say, for South Africa’s sake: No Double Zuma!

She was trained at British taxpayers’ expense and still thinks money grows on trees. In her latest projection, you just queue up at the Reserve Bank to collect the money you want.

Then the unbelievable: “We need a transparent government … ” Who’s kidding whom? She wants to continue “cadre employment” — the main cause of endemic corruption.

Like her “rehabilitated” adviser, Carl Niehaus, Dlamini-Zuma appears to have no past. Her tenure at the African Union was mired in inaction and factionalism. No one mourned her leaving to return to South Africa. She’s our liability now.

The question is: What has she done for South Africans, especially the poor? Very little. But the biggest blot is her failure to be interviewed by South Africa’s best newspaper. She fails to make a declaration. Instead, we have squeaks in the antisocial media. — Tom Morgan