Home Fleetwatch 2014 Comments by Patrick O'Leary Let the President follow the example of the trucking industry

Let the President follow the example of the trucking industry


am so sick and tired of seeing the name ‘Zuma’ on the front pages of our newspapers – all for the wrong reasons. If it’s not Nkandla, it’s the arms corruption scandal, or a dubious nuclear deal he signs with Russia. It’s one scandal after the other – and this is the President of South Africa, the man in charge of the country once hailed internationally as a ‘miracle nation’. It is so sad to see how far we have fallen from that privileged position. South Africa revolves around Zuma and his countless shenanigans. Back in 2009, just prior to the general elections in 2009, I wrote a plea in FleetWatch to Jacob Zuma who was about to get the top seat in the country. It was titled: “Mr President, it’s in your hands.” I want to repeat it here:
“Mr President, you are inheriting the custodianship of a jewel, one that is more valuable and beautiful than any diamond you have ever seen. The name of the jewel is not ANC or DA or COPE. Rather, it is SOUTH AFRICA. Yes, we all know the jewel called South Africa has lost its shine and sparkle over the past few years having been caked in dust and mud. However, the cloth that can get this jewel to sparkle again is in your hands. Are you going to leave the cloth in your bottom drawer and let even more dirt gather to obscure the potential value of this jewel; or are you going to take that cloth and spend your time and energy polishing the jewel to highlight to all the world the true beauty of the gem that is now in your hands? Should you take up that cloth and start polishing, you will find the sparkle of the jewel will reflect in the enthusiasm of all South Africans as they shine both as individuals and as a collective. It has been difficult for South Africans to sparkle as a collective over the past few years for the simple reason that since our great former President Nelson Mandela handed over custodianship of the jewel – which he had polished to a dazzling shine – no-one has been seen to be caring for it. It’s almost as if the jewel did not exist and I’m sure you will be the first to admit that it has been a messy time with a lot of divisive mud-slinging obscuring the true brilliance of the jewel. Yet the jewel is still there. All it needs is for its custodian – which is now you Mr President – to reapply the cloth and polish it. You see, a diamond never loses its inherent strength and qualities. It can, however, lose its shine if not cared for. Also, like a diamond, this jewel called South Africa has many ‘faces’ to it and you cannot polish just one ‘face’ and expect its true brilliance to shine through. You have to polish it as a whole. Do that and like a diamond, this jewel called South Africa will glitter and 2014dazzle just as it used to post 1994. Mr President, it’s in your hands.”
Oh my goodness. How naïve I was to expect a man like this to shine the diamond. All he has done is smear it with his own thick layers of mud to the point where one has to search hard to see a small sparkle. Take the latest saga, the refusal of the government, which Zuma heads, to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to attend the Nobel Peace Laureates world summit which was scheduled to be held in Cape Town. The whole saga has embarrassed and shamed us in the eyes of the world. I find it particularly ironic that our Government, headed by Zuma, decided to kowtow to the dictates of China at the same time as tens of thousands of Chinese took to the streets in Hong Kong to demand a democratic election process. The protests were sparked by China’s insistence that candidates for a 2017 election in Hong Kong be screened by Chinese authorities, even though residents in Hong Kong had been promised that they would be able to freely elect their leaders when the United Kingdom gave control over the territory to China in 1997. Ironic. Sure is.
The President of our country is supposed to work for the good of the nation as a whole rather than for his own good and survival. There are so many people in this country who are working so hard to build our nation and in this regard, I lift my hat to the trucking industry for its non-stop contribution to this country. In this edition, we write on Hyundai Commercial Vehicles opening a new R110-million assembly plant providing an initial 30 jobs; we highlight Isuzu Truck South Africa’s Port Elizabeth truck assembly plant where 110 people are employed; we highlight Fuso which has launched a new truck range to bring in modern technology from overseas to keep the wheels of our economy turning efficiently. As I write this, hundreds of truck drivers are out on the roads delivering goods around the country. Tonight they will sleep in their trucks, not in some mansion. The one man who should be spearheading this collective effort of nation building is the President of our country. But he is not. He is killing the spirit of South Africans. The diamond should never have been put into his hands. Let him look to the trucking industry for an example of what he should be doing for the country. The trucking industry has proved that it can stand tall for its contribution to the country. The President has proved too small to stand tall. He is a small man at a time when South Africa needs a big man. He is a bakkie when we need a 6×4 truck to drive us forward.

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