Day 309: Politicians Party While Citizens Starve

At a wedding of 550 of a country's most influential government officials and business people, one can expect the event to be extravagant and expensive - really expensive. One event like this probably costs more money than you or I will ever see in our entire lives. If we were to include the clothing and accessories of the guests... well, then it would be twice that amount.

South Africa is a country of stark contrasts - most of which are economic. Government officials wear Louis Vuitton shoes and the unemployment rate in the country is 25%. Nurses are appointed as directors while half of the country lives in poverty. Statistics show that 26% of South Africans live on less than R305 per month - that's 10% of the poverty line.

A key finding was that between 2008 and 2009 about 26,3% of population lived below the food poverty line of R305 per person per month (the amount that an individual will need to consume enough food in a month); 39% were living below the lower-bound poverty line of R416 and 52% were living below the upper-bound poverty line of R577 per person per month. Using the international poverty lines, 10,7% of the population were living on less than $1,25 per day and 36,4% were living below the $2,50 per day poverty line. The poverty gap, using the food poverty line was 8,5% and the severity of poverty was 3,8. - Advocacy Aid

 There was an article in a local newspaper a while back showing how the minimum wage, government handouts and pensions are not enough to ensure that even one person is able to buy nutritional food in a month. Oh, and that the government regularly "loses" or "parties away" millions of Rands.

The actions of government officials who have the power, money and position to make changes really don't care - they are more interested in their own needs. If the president of a country really wanted to do good for his/her country, he/she would actually spearhead efforts to find and implement a solution to poverty and inequality - instead, government officials just pander around, posturing and partying and generally having a good time.

What is interesting is that the people living in poverty support these government officials wholeheartedly, simply because they represent some kind of ideal and inflame passions with their speeches. We still believe that the government cares and that they are improving our lives somehow, when they are in fact only improving their own lives.

What is more important: money or life?