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Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 217: Another Corrupt Leader - What's New?

And so the efforts to oust Zuma, president of the Republic of South Africa, continue. http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/i-lent-zuma-money-for-nkandla-reddy-1.1425914#.UKp5bIZeccs A friend of Zuma's, Vivian Reddy, has spoken out in defense of Zuma.

An excerpt from the article:

However, Reddy, who is also in the construction industry, said what people failed to understand was that it cost 30 percent more to build in a rural area. He said that when Zuma received visitors at his Nkandla home it had to look good.
“We can’t have the president living in a cheap rondavel; it must be befitting of his office,” Reddy said.
He said the construction of a helicopter pad at Nkandla was “absolutely essential” in case there was an emergency or the president had a heart attack, while the bunkers were also a necessity. “‘Look at the Ugandan president; his palace cost R1bn,” said Reddy.
Asked if he was involved in the latest Nkandla upgrade, Reddy said that he was busy with other work.
“Also, given our overhead structures and the remote area our price would have been 30 percent to 40 percent more than the normal average price for the electrical works. Therefore, we did not tender for the contract,” Reddy said.
He said Zuma should be commended for still living in Nkandla when he could be living in the plushest areas in the country.
Zuma said last week that he had no idea how much money had been spent on security upgrades, which were done in terms of the National Key Points Act, at his home.
The security measures included houses built beyond the perimeter of the property for security staff, fencing, bulletproof windows and a security bunker...
...SABC staff have been forbidden to refer to Zuma’s complex as a “homestead” or “compound”, and the terms “Nkandlagate” and “Zumaville” have also been banned.

Here's what I propose: Any person wanting to be in a position of leadership should live in the same conditions of the most poverty stricken citizen in the country they are serving. The function of the government is to serve the people - it's not the other way around. The president of South Africa should live on the streets with the homeless who have no way of supporting themselves and who receive no support from the government - I think that the policies and practices of the government will quickly change. 

This whole Nkandla "home" of Zuma's is alleged to have cost upwards of R200 million - even if the government did not pay for it, how is the leader of an impoverished country allowed to live in such luxury while close to half of the population lives in poverty? In the article, Reddy compares Zuma's home to the home of the Ugandan president which cost R1 billion - isn't Uganda one of the poorest countries in the world? I'm starting to see a pattern here. Zuma's annual salary from his position of president is just over R1 million - not nearly enough to pay for an expansive project such as this - so then where is all that money coming from?

Maybe if we stopped treating leaders like gods, they'd stop acting like gods. Our leaders should not receive any more remuneration than the minimum wage. I think that would dissuade corruption, don't you? If leaders had no real authority then we could pretty much guarantee that no one acting according to their own self interests would take up the position of president. 

I vote for an Equal Money System because it recognizes that the purpose of the government is to administrate - not to control and exploit.

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