Letter From The DM168 Editor

It’s time for all of us to get angry and fight the thieves of hope

It’s time for all of us to get angry and fight the thieves of hope
Kusile coal-fired power station, operated by Eskom. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images); National Director of Public Prosecutions Adv Shamila Batohi (Photo by Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe); Cows at the Estina dairy farm. (Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath); Dr Murunwa Makwarela of COPE celebrates with ANC and EFF members after he was elected as the new Executive Mayor of Tshwane. (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier) It's time for all of us to get angry and fight the thieves of hope

Let’s commit to voting every greedy, self-serving politician and political party out of any semblance of power when next we have the chance.

Dear DM168 Readers,

This week I write this letter to you with a heavy heart. I have been dragged down by a feeling of melancholy that has crept from my head to my toes like a malevolent shadow monster.

Why do I feel this way when my life is so blessed?

I have an abundance of unconditional love and affection, from my partner, my sons, my family, my friends, my colleagues. I have enough. I live in a small, warm, comfortable, inverter-backed-up home in a relatively safe complex, surrounded by good neighbours who watch out for each other.

I have a job that gives me a sense of purpose and belonging and pays the bills for rates, levies, bond, petrol, car, food on the table and good public schools for my sons.

Every day I have the exquisite momentary privilege of stepping away from the confines of my laptop to immerse my hands in the soil, tend to my vegetable garden and feel the thrill of growing brinjals, rocket, strawberries, cabbage, beans, basil, mint, dhania, parsley and chilies to augment our family meals.

Yet this week despite my life of plenty, the shadow monster stalks me. As my fingers thump this keyboard, I think I have finally figured out why.

Normally, when the horror of our country seeps out of my Daily Maverick Inbox like a slew of seething sewage, I don’t let it get to me. I hold on to hope. I cling to my belief that there are good South Africans out there and eventually by sheer will, critical mass and force, this good will triumph.

Three stories this week throttled my hope and made me not so sure any more.

It started on Sunday when Daily Maverick’s Kevin Bloom and our colleagues at City Press and Rapport revealed from the Eskom intelligence files the full extent of the evil that has brought not just Eskom, but our economy and our country to its knees.

Then I read from my colleague Cathy Dlodlo about how the NPA has seemingly stuffed up the first State Capture case in Bloemfontein, the Vrede dairy case. Legal experts and anti-corruption campaigners have argued that despite the spin-doctoring, Shamila Batohi’s NPA is a very long way from being able to successfully litigate complex State Capture cases.

The final nail in the coffin of hope was reading about how the DA-led coalition fell apart in my home town of Tshwane, with Cope and other unknown coalition members selling out to the ANC and EFF.

The chaos of coalitions in Johannesburg, Ekhuruleni and now Tshwane has made me lose faith in all political parties. I struggle to find any party that puts people, citizens and residents above political ideology and positions of power.

What the leaked Eskom intelligence reports say to me is that the people we voted into power for the last 29 years, and their fellow travellers in the elite business and political class who share their avaricious agenda, do not care if the country collapses. They do not care if jobs are lost or if our children are starved of any meaningful future.

They do not care if professionals leave the country in droves and the tax base shrinks. They do not care if the working class sinks into mass unemployment. They do not care about the poverty and indignity that their wanton greed has unleashed onto an already frighteningly unequal society.

They are hollow men and women with hearts of stone who wash their hands in 15-year-old whisky, eat sushi off naked bodies and flush it down with overpriced champagne. Their Porsches, Maseratis, multi-million-rand mansions and the designer swag they drape themselves in matter more, much more than we, the 60 million people.

What the other two stories say to me is our ability to fight against the tide of evil is severely compromised by the weakness and collusion of our law enforcement and the myopia, polarisation and fragmentation of our opposition parties..

I’ve had enough of all of this. It only serves the interests of the crooked if I, or we stay sad and sorry for ourselves, driven into cocoons of despair. Sigmund Freud used to say: “Depression is anger turned inwards.” To hell with that. It’s time to stop being sad and to start getting mad.

It’s time to get livid at all those responsible for letting our country become a mafia state. And channel that anger in ways that will decimate the destroyers of hope.

For starters, let’s commit to voting every greedy self-serving politician and political party out of any semblance of power when next we have the chance.

Let’s do everything we can to fix everywhere we can like Gift of the Givers is doing (no wonder our Daily Maverick readers all unanimously said they would rather have Dr Imtiaz Sooliman as President (as opposed to any politician.)

We need to just keep on keeping on. Teaching, building, making, growing, caring, serving, feeding, creating. We can also do much more to fight against the evil that has possessed our body politic.

March, lay charges, protest, investigate, expose, write, pursue, persist, and litigate. Like Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) is doing. GFSA and families whose loved ones have been murdered or injured by guns that crooked cops sold to gangsters are embarking on a critical class action suit against Police Minister Bheki Cele and the state, as detailed in our front page story by Caryn Dolley. Now there is a story of hope. And for those of you keen to read more about the Eskom intelligence files, Ethan Van Diemen explains how the crooked cartels sabotaged power stations and instigated higher levels of load shedding. Maybe we need many more class action suits against the politicians who have allowed mafia cartels to ruin our lives.

Please support all that we do by becoming a Maverick Insider and getting your DM168 e-edition for free, or by going to your nearest retail outlet to buy our latest print edition. We can only do what we do because of those of you insiders and newspaper buyers who support us. Please share your thoughts on how to bring more hope into our sad state of affairs by writing to me at [email protected]

Yours in defence of truth and hope,


This story first appeared in our weekly DM168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, SPAR and Exclusive Books. For your nearest stockist, please click here.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • betsy Kee says:

    Anger may motivate us. But we need to do more. Voting is one small step. Contributing to our wider community according to our skills base and pocket is another. What more can we do to stave off the despair, the disappointment, the fury?

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    I recon all the readers of DM feel the same way as you do Heather! And if we go further afield you would probably find readers of black publications might feel the same – how do we reach these people? Without them, nothing can change as a vote is a vote! Or an alternative would be that taxpayers could become A-listed votes ( with 2 or 3 votes per person) and non payers become B-Listed voters ( with one vote per person). How to stop fraud at the Polls would probably be the biggest issue if this happened as sadly nothing and no politician in South Africa seems trustworthy anymore!

    • James Saunders says:

      This comment is terrible on so many levels. Firstly, what are these “black publications”, can you name a few? The inference is that even the “blacks” might agree with the people that read this “white publication” (are term I think all the DM staff will take huge issue with), which leads to the inference that somehow “white” thought (really using your terms here) is superior. The layers of inept racialised stupidity in this comment beggars belief.

      Then this idea of giving tax payers increased voting leverage. There is word for that. It is called a plutocracy.

      So the inference from this comment is that we need the rich white people to take charge, because the poor black people are too stupid to know what is good for them (except the few that we would “probably” find). I think you might find that people don’t take too kindly to that sort of an idea. If that was not the inference you meant people to take you need to radically re-evaluate they way you talk about issues.

      You are not helping, this sort of regressive analysis only makes it more difficult to actually work to solve the problems facing this country. Consider your words, words are powerful things.

  • Jacques Botha says:

    Hear! Hear!

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    I’m appalled at the passivity and invisibility of the church and have said so in high places. The Arch would have been jumping up and down and warning Cyril and his expensive whiskey-drinking band of crooks that enough is enough. Where is the moral majority that is SA?

    Wonderful read Heather and another front-page winner. Well done, DM

  • virginia crawford says:

    The ANC and associated parasites are heartless money-grubbers. Some options: a tax strike; an appeal to foreign governments and lenders/ donors to withhold funds; sanctions. Closer to home, we should all be finding ways to get people out to vote: the millions that don’t vote are angry too but don’t have the resources or energy often to register and vote. We need creative ideas – food vouchers, volunteers to fill out forms – it’s a daunting task for many. A massive voter education drive: clear explanations of what not voting means. Bumper stickers, tik-tok videos anything. Anything is better than having to leave or taking up arms eventually.

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      Who would YOU vote for? Obviously not the ANC, a tiny party that sells it’s votes? No ways. A party with proven service delivery? Mmmm? Mmmm?

      • virginia crawford says:

        BOSA probably- but I’d vote for a goat if it took a vote away from the ANC.

        • Glyn Morgan says:

          Not a bad choice if it had any power. It does not have an ounce of political clout. This is one election where first prize is getting the ANC out. Second prize is getting a bunch of democratic parties into parliament. The best way to do that is to support the DA, as the biggest and most diverse democratic party. After getting the ANC out, or weakened very badly, then go for all those tiny parties.

  • Louise van Dyk says:

    We want our Country back in all its glory with honest rulers, properly maintained infrastructure and our freedom of loving, living and just moving about with a sense of freedom and without fear.

    • Gerrie Pretorius says:

      Show me one country in Africa where this is the case?

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      Biggest and most diverse does not necessarily mean democratic. I was part of the DA and one of the reasons why I quit was because its’ climbing into bed with the NP in 2000 compromised the democratic nature of the old DP leaders. One does not have to go further than the role of the DA in approving the floor crossing legislation and the role of the DA in it. Its leaders even manipulated its’ 2002 congress to have its’support for the said legislation approved – after the congress most of the rank and file members knew it was not right but they were not listened to. There are also many other examples of undemocratic practices from their side. And the latest one is their effective support for the Zuma faction in the Phala Phala voting in parliament; because the motion of no confidence in Ramaphosa effectively boiled down to the parties making one of two choices: voting in favour of Zuma and the state capturers (via Arthur Fraser) or against them (by supporting Ramaphosa). The DA chose to prefer supporting the state captures, nodoubt only because they hoped to win votes, but that is not why I vote for a political party. I vote for such because I believe the support good government. That decision by the DA showed that they are not interested in THAT. So I would rather vote for a miniscule small political party, but preferably an independent, so that when I have a problem, that person can articulate my needs as an MP. And BOSA at least support the IDEA of independent candidates.

  • William Dryden says:

    I couldn’t have said it better, we have to collectively vote the present government out in the 2024 elections. The main opposition party should try and convince the ANC loyal voters that if another party wins the election, they will not loose their social benefits which I’m hearing is their biggest concern.

    • Glyn Morgan says:

      Right. One thing…. Why are you afraid to mention the name of that “main opposition party”? It is the DA. Be brave, mention it. Votes win elections. People vote for parties that they respect. The DA is certainly respected in the Western Cape, where it delivers services. If the DA gets in in the next elections, it will mean the ANC is out. Now THAT IS A GOOD THING! If the media never mentions a party’s name it will not be respected, however respectful it’s policies or record of delivery. No party is perfect, some are just much better than the rest.

      • virginia crawford says:

        The Western Cape – is that where the building mafia just shot someone and gangsters have infiltrated the police? It might be paradise for some, but not for people on the Cape Flats who have been there for generations. And District Six? Go and talk to all the people who were chucked off farms and now live in collapsing RDP houses – ask how the DA is working for them. We have a party in power that is beyond useless, and DA can’t shift them? Instead of blaming voters and the media, they should look in the mirror.

        • Glyn Morgan says:

          What you are mentioning is Cenral Govt. responsibility.

          Cape Flats – Immigration from other provinces – 100 000 per year. Why? Because they want to be in the Western Cape! A better choice!
          Police – Not up to the required number. Police firearms distributed to gangsters. Not up to standard. The Western Cape Govt. want control of the Police but Pretoria say no.
          District Six – Largely Rebuilt. Reallocation of housing is a central govt. function. Unresolved after how many years, 40 years?/50 years?

        • Glyn Morgan says:

          Virginia, it is not ok to bitch about the only party that could realistically take on the ANC. YOU are the reason that the ANC has a small opposition.

          • virginia crawford says:

            I love the capital letters and putting forward a view that you don’t like is not bitching: it is precisely this attitude that puts me and others off. Where am I? In North Korea? Getting told off like this – what does it reflect?

          • Roelf Pretorius says:

            Don’t speak nonsense Glyn. The DA is notorious for opposing the smaller opposition parties so they can get their votes, and NOT really the ANC. I would say that if you want to oppose the ANC directly you would want to vote ActionSA, because that is what they are doing. But I don’t think that any other single political party in SA is ready to take over from the ANC anyway. Eventually we want a coalition, not only of different political parties, but specifically of their diverse ideas. And our politicians will sooner or later find out that the way for coalitions to work is to focus on the needs of the people, not that of the political parties. That is how it is sustained in the developed world and it will be no different in SA. We should start to learn from those who has made it work, instead of forcing all these outdated ideologies down others’ throats like it is happening by the responders on this page.

      • Tracy Smith says:

        Agreed, I don’t understand why the DA is not a serious consideration in the press, because really, you cannot honestly compare the DA with the ANC in its current state.

      • Roelf Pretorius says:

        As far as I know your “respected” DA lost a lot of votes in the same Western Cape in 2019, specifically because they did not act like a “respected” government in their witch hunt against Pafricia de Lille. So these outdated English Westminster ideas of the DA members are not the solution. The solution is to vote for independent candidates, because they will not prefer ideology like the Westmimster system above our interests as voters (the ideologies originated , are maintained by political parties). Independents on the other hand don’t have that infrastructure or need – they will get the votes by representing the interests of the VOTERS as they hear it from them in the same way that it happened even in England before political parties started to dominate proceedings. Don’t believe me, read the history up on the internet.

      • Davis Kate says:

        Exactly, could not agree more. The DA is our only nope now.

  • christo o says:

    A political scientist somewhere way back wrote that Donald Trump was the inevitable outcome of the American political system. If it was not him personally, it would have been someone similar. It is nearly impossible for someone who is NOT a millionaire / billionaire to become president of the USA on their own. Even Joe Biden who pitches himself as an average American has a net worth of millions of dollars!

    If we bring the argument that the system creates the players home, you could argue that our own system will continue to generate the kind of politicians that we have. One thing that might be easier to do would be to change away from proportional representation to voting directly for your candidate (as was envisioned in the original constitution). I have more hope of this passing than finding enough honest, caring politicians. I should state that my optimism here is calibrated by looking at the snowball in my hand and evaluating its chances of surviving its journey through hell..

    If we did this, it might take a few decades to course correct. We will always have people voting in ways that we cannot make sense of and thereby create the appearance that they are also stupid, greedy and corrupt like the leaders they choose, but hopefully the votes of the smart, reasonable people outweigh them at some point in time.

    • Hilary Morris says:

      Just let’s not hold our breath on that one. I suspect smart, reasonable people get the hell out while they can. There’s an inevitability about this chaos that says we have to endure a spectacular crash before there can be change. We’re well on our way to that, but no guarantee the outcome will be better. That’s about as pessimistic as is possible! Hard to see a happy conclusion.

  • Esskay Esskay says:

    How’s about a tax revolt? Withhold taxes until there are some serious prosecutions.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Only a vote for the DA is safe all the other rats and mice will sell their souls for a packet of crackers to the ANC.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Great article, Heather! Spot on all the way through except for one sentence. I quote. – “I struggle to find any party that puts people, citizens and residents above political ideology and positions of power.” Did you consider the DA as fitting that description? Name one DA politician with a Maserati or washes hands with whiskey, even cheap stuff.

    I do not consider the DA as fitting your description. I presume that you will cast a vote in the next elections. Which party will you vote for? Will it be one that can realistically make a difference? Or will it be one of those with a record of selling it’s votes to the ANC/EFF?

  • Sam van Coller says:

    Time is short. We only have 18 months to the next general election. Those who have real money need to invite Songezo Zibi, Musi Maimane, John Steenhuisen, Herman Mashaba, the leaders of the IFP and the Freedom Front Plus to a private retreat meeting and persuade them of the critical need for them to work in unity with a common vision and programme of intent that will capture the hopes of the majority of South Africans. The hosts should be prepared to offer significant financial support to such an initiative if all the mentioned political leaders agree to work as one and not as ten minnows. The media has the platforms to promote the idea of the absolutely critical need for all the political parties mentioned to work together. Heather you could start the ball rolling. If the good, hard working people of South Africa lose in 2024, we will need to find an alternative future somewhere else for our children and grandchildren to find their lives. Heather, you can do it.

    • virginia crawford says:

      A government of unity – I agree. But the DA is so convinced that they are the smartest kids on the block, that I don’t think they’d go for it. Helen and John? Those egos.

      • Glyn Morgan says:

        The only ego in play here is yours, Virginia. Please explain just how you can say that Helen Zille has an ego problem.

        Ask any political party leader, which is the best party and they will say their own one. What makes you say that only the DA thinks that they are the smartest kids on the block. For ego-size I would say that Steenhuisen and Zille are rather modest. But that is besides the point. The big question is … Do you want the ANC in or not? Tiny parties will not do dilly-squat to through the ANC out.

        • virginia crawford says:

          This attitude is very off- putting. The DA has had decades to build an opposition but haven’t. That’s a simple fact. And they blame the media and voters, but not themselves.

    • Peter Oosthuizen says:

      Good point Sam – what we also need is a party that caters for the have-nots, labour as well as business. What does the DA, as it stands, offer those who live from hand to mouth on the government bribe? Very little except a promise of “honest” government which means very little to shack dwellers with not much to look forward to. I’m pretty sure that there are some leaders in the SACP and Cosatu who are also disillusioned who could be included in a broad coalition of all those who have had enough of maladministration and theft.

  • David Walker says:

    Wow Heather, you must be a very slow learner. The writing has been on the wall since the arms deal scandal. And yet, so called ‘progressives’ have spent their time wringing their hands and obsessing about their white privilege instead of working actively to end the thieving criminality that is ANC rule. But better late than never I suppose.

    • Marilyn Small says:

      Belittling comment much ? We can be both honest and kind. Some people are inclined to optimism and only feel the bite when almost all hope is trampled on.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      And the once noisy/brave ‘auntie’ who brought it to our attention has been ‘overtaken/seduced’ by the ANC offering her a ‘senior’ role in ‘their’ ranks ! And … like some commentators have said, their ‘egos’ get in the way of ‘collaborating’ with reasonable others for the benefit of most !

      • Lorinda Winter says:

        At last someone who has pointed out that Auntie Pat is not the perfect lady she once was. Dept of Public Works is now in a worse state than ever with corruption happily carrying on. Cyril was very clever when he appointed her as well as Shamila Batohi. Nothing has changed .. same old, same old!

  • Tony B says:

    IF ONLY, the masses who could affect change with their votes; (1) read DM168 and (2) were just as angry as those of us who have commented here!

    The ANC is the only party able to correct the mistakes (or whatever you want to call it) it made. Why? because if anyone thinks that the ANC can be voted out of power, they’re dreaming!

    There are, according to the 2011 census, 47,1 million non-white individuals in South Africa. That is 91% of the population. I don’t have the numbers for those eligible to vote but the percentage cannot be far off.

    What are the alternatives to the ANC?
    The DA cannot hope to win a general election without the non-white vote. And getting a meaningful black vote is now more unlikely than ever. Yes, it is a colour issue. It is also about trust, loyalties and culture. Forget the broken promises. There will be new promises to hold on to in 2024.

    I live in a small, majority non-white, village in the Karoo. There is a belief amongst our community that the DA is a “white party who will take South Africa back to apartheid years”. Here, the majority live off social grants and there is a fear that if the ANC lose the elections, their grants will be taken away.

    A DA coalition with smaller parties, if they could actually make it work, would not give the DA et co. a majority, not at national level.
    But, if needed, I can see a coalition between the ANC and the EFF.
    Which brings it back to my second paragraph.

  • David Lewis says:

    Thank you

  • Dragon Slayer says:

    Thinking that law enforcement offers any hope is delusional. Watch any live feed of a court case and you see bewildered little boys (very seldom girls) against men (ditto women) being chewed-up and spat-out by the best that plundered loot can buy. They are gleefully being watched by a smirking Iqbal Sharma and his rogue’s gallery.
    I wonder if ‘everyone is entitles to a defence’ helps these defence advocates sleep at night when they see and actually enable our beloved South Africa being reduced to a termite mound!
    Then again, the grotesque fees they get paid ensures that they and their families will not have to stay here when their jobs are done. Who knows, their fees may already be being paid into offshore tax havens. Sickening!

  • tanya zack says:

    Let’s create an alternative. It is time for a Green Party-built on all we know about sustainable development and mitigating climate change. With young leaders.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    If only the NPA would start doing what they are supposed to do and do it much faster (It is all there in the Zondo Report), there could be a change in this country, especially if they finally start to accuse the big fish before the 2024 votation.

  • Jacques Wessels says:

    I agree & a good base is in place but simply ignored or deliberately derailed by politicians & deployed officials in the Integrated Development Plans. Get your municipal document and call for specific answers by responsible politician and or official in as public a way as possible. Have FUN

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Vote DA with all their warts!
    Dont be scared to recommend them
    We are in the midst of failure!
    Get this ANC out for the sake of SA and our children
    We are all seething and angered with this impunity!

  • Hulme Scholes says:

    “They do not care if professionals leave the country in droves and the tax base shrinks. They do not care if the working class sinks into mass unemployment. They do not care about the poverty and indignity that their wanton greed has unleashed onto an already frighteningly unequal society.”

    The ANC has never cared. You don’t get that rotten in 29 years, you have always been rotten. The ANC is a depraved and perpetually disgusting crime syndicate that has never ever once since democracy been anything else but that. Only people who are part of the stealing feeding frenzy or people who are too uneducated and exploited for their votes, support the ANC. It must die and disappear.

    • Peter Oosthuizen says:

      That’s the problem when you’ve never heard of the goose who laid a golden egg.
      Only when the goose is dead will the ANC parasites disappear.
      Ignorant, incompetent, intolerable and insufferable.

  • Davis Kate says:

    I agree with you 100%, Heather. I feel that the only solution that we have to stop the situation of minority parties such as the EFF making deals with the ANC and forming destructive coalition parties, is to all vote DA as they are the biggest opposition party and is the party with the best chance to get an outright majority and will therefore have no need to form any coalition with any other party and there is also no chance that they can be removed as the outright majority. They have already proven that they can govern effectively as witnessed in the Western Cape. I feel like this is the message we should be pushing on a daily basis and give the DA an outright majority in the 2024 elections.

  • William Dryden says:

    I agree that tax payers should get more votes than none taxpayers, also why cannot permanent residents who have lived in the country for more than ten years and paid their share of taxes, be allowed to vote? I have been here for over 50 years but cannot vote, yet prisoners are allowed to vote??

  • William Dryden says:

    Hi Glyn, I didn’t name the main opposition party because I used to put comments in Microsoft Edge and when one mention’s a party’s name or a person’s name, they tell you that there is something wrong with the comments. To put the record straight, I have always liked the DA and tell people that that is the only party that can put South Africa right along with the more realistic minority party’s. I have just joined the DM insider, but now know I can name names.

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