An infuriating conversation that’s been happening in the background is the resistance from MPs to have their perks reduced.
The ANC’s Peace Mabe has been most outspoken about this.
She co-chairs a committee that oversees the financial management of Parliament and she’s not even keen on opening the conversation, saying they won’t tolerate any cuts.
Instead, she says MPs and members of the executive deserve more than they currently get, because they have left the comforts of their homes to serve the country.
Considering the current economic and social climate, it is probably THE most wildly insensitive comment I have heard.
It also begs the question: “How effectively are you serving the country exactly?”
Her comments came just days before the violence in Johannesburg flared up again, with foreign nationals targeted and businesses and cars torched.
So obviously Mabe and her colleagues aren’t doing nearly enough to address our history of sporadic xenophobia.
And when it comes to gender-based violence, that would be an understatement.
Then there’s the economy, which doesn’t ever seem to be doing well enough for ordinary citizens to breathe comfortably.
Considering that MPs are paid from our taxes and enjoy perks that we can only dream of, it genuinely confuses me that Mabe can say they are not being paid enough and want to talk about getting more.
The level of insensitivity and blatant greed is astounding.
I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m guessing that if MPs addressed just corruption effectively, they would save enough money to keep their perks.
But while we are trying to figure out how to absorb all the price increases we’ve been victims of this year alone, with only a fraction of what MPs earn, they are looking at how to squeeze even more out of us to make their own lives even more luxurious.
Peace Mabe is clearly not interested in maintaining the very meaning of her first name, because what she is suggesting just adds fuel to the social fires of discontent.
It’s got me fantasising about the gravy train that we call South African politics. It’s seems to be a quick way to riches that some people would otherwise never earn in the private sector.
Just imagine politicians had to go through a lengthy education process before they could take up a post, like go to university and score above-average results.
And then, just like most other careers, once you obtain your degree, you have to do a three-year, lowly-paid internship.
And once you’ve completed that, you still had to go through a process where we get to decide whether you are worthy of being a public servant.
I’m thinking this could be a future reality TV show, with each season ending with one winner, the ultimate political candidate.
I suspect many current politicians would fail the test and many aspiring politicians would reconsider their options.
It could, of course, never happen, but wouldn’t it be nice?