South Africa: Army Not the Solution to Raging Social DecayDate Posted: Wednesday 19-May-2010
By Meshack Mabogoane
Johannesburg - THE staggering social problems that have overwhelmed the country in the wake of a licentious "human rights" environment (and its sinister manipulation) are receiving attention, albeit grudgingly, from the government.
Now that the government admits some rot, there is a need for real frankness in assessing the mess and the role the government has played in creating it.
The Department of Defence has proposed absorbing recruits into its ranks for "instilling patriotism and discipline". That the army has to be brought in shows the gravity of the situation. It is a virtual state of emergency, and it stems from social engineering aimed at producing a degenerate social climate and, out of that, a malleable rabble.
After failing to destroy the country with explosives before 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) in power has succeeded in devastating society through the cunning manipulation of social grants, ill-meaning "rights" and state resources. This ethical wilderness is a fertile ground for propaganda and plunder and it suits incumbents in nihilistic tyrannies.
The Department of Defence's recruits will be the products of a government that has rubbished discipline and social ethics. There is excessive provision of "rights" to protect children and youth - ostensibly against abuse at home and on campus. But while youth are rewarded for misbehaviour, adults are restrained, even punished, for trying to inculcate responsibility in them.
The exponential expansion of the black population, in which the government is implicated by way of dereliction of its duties, worsens social problems. Women and children are abused, social grants-driven offspring are ill fed and ill bred - a massive social jungle and a national bungle are in the making.
"Rights" and "welfare" have undermined social institutions, values and responsibility - there is overwhelming evidence that they are harming society.
In overcrowded jails - or rather "hotels", which accommodate and subsidise the victims of social degeneration - the comforts and lack of discipline attract many. Tardiness and negligence in dealing with infractions within the bureaucracy - including the comical "disciplinary procedures" of the ANC - corrode authority. The general tone of the government and ruling party abets insubordination and irresponsibility in state and society.
And now the Department of Defence wants to act as a kind of fire brigade to extinguish the social inferno. It would be more cost-effective and socially responsible if the government stopped spawning social and personal degeneration.
The regime, by emphasising party over patria, comrade over citizen, has destroyed patriotism, which requires a real understanding of, and respect and love for, one's country. But the government falsifies history, eclipses significant events and downgrades personalities except those of its own. The heritage, views and concerns of all others are set aside and trampled on for its controversial legacies. An inimical propaganda arouses enmity and anger.
Moreover, the regime has sown conflict and enlarged chasms across generations, class, gender, racial and even black ethnic lines in pursuit of a "divide, undermine and control" programme. This militates against a common feeling of goodwill, mutual recognition and respect among citizens, which is indispensable for patriotism.
The army - now an emasculated militia - needs remedial treatment itself before its rickety structure is burdened with social jetsam. A disciplined army is what is really needed, otherwise it may produce "war veterans" fit mainly for seizures and heists. Hence the recruitment of ANC Youth League members - as comrades not citizens - is portentous.
While the Department of Defence meddles in social-patchwork solutions, it fails to face military issues because of lack of vision and political will.
The proposed role of the department in social rehabilitation will flop as long as the government allows or aggravates social degeneration and acts irresponsibly. The social collapse in this country is stoked by a hostile regime that is destroying its vulnerable citizens by exploiting their weaknesses.
Mabogoane is a freelance writer.