Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
Millions of poor people do want a better life. But that does not mean they will demand changes the fiscus can’t afford — research shows that, because the poor are engaged in a battle for survival, they are pragmatic and aware of the limits to change. Poor people have been on the streets protesting for eight years and the demands that emerge are hardly extravagant. Often protesters simply want politicians to listen. Or they want tarred roads or better housing or that officials leave people to live and trade where they please. The militant voices are not those of the poor but of the organised middle class. The poor are not organised — this is why the grass-roots protests don’t produce detailed demands. Protests are often organised by ambitious local politicians who know people are unhappy but are not interested in bargaining to improve their lives. They are often a symptom of a lack of organisation. – Steven Friedman in Business DayBACK TO TOP