Someone, from overseas, asked me the other day what is the single biggest problem this country faces. Frankly, I wanted to start by explaining that I can write an entire 300 page book on the problems this country faces, and I can do so once a month without repeating myself for a year. The problems are so vast and self-created that I am quite happy not being able to give solutions because my solutions will be so dramatic it will probably start a civil war and worse. And it will not work because any solution needs support from the majority of people, and I am afraid, no one has such solutions. I dare say we will plunge merrily from one crisis to the other and it will never improve. It will get worse than what it is now.
The question made me think hard, how to reduce a book to one word and finally I said “arrogance” and I can demonstrate my point rather easily. A few weeks ago our Minister of Sport (or whatever, extremely unimportant in my view) attended the Floyd boxing match in Las Vegas. I followed the accusations that he went there on State (read taxpayer) money. Whether that is true or not I don’t know as it soon became a shouting match with him replying, very arrogantly, that a black man can afford to go the USA. That is not an answer, it is an evasion and playing the race card to the full extreme it can be played. Who cares what his race is? I don’t, and I suspect neither did the questioners, they just wanted to know, who paid for you? Simple, answer the damn question and you will not need to play a race card. In court, such an idiotic answer will be hammered.
Then just yesterday, our beleaguered head of the SABC, a television station I am sure enjoy massive following, not, and is State funded (read taxpayer) got himself a 30% pay hike on top of a very substantial salary. Now I heard many bad rumours on the state of the SABC and what I heard is alarming if not scandalous, once again, true or not I would not know. Whatever, I expected nothing better and once again, the reply, the defence? A black man can earn a good salary! Now what one earth is that answer? Oi, a black man can earn a good salary? Are you trying to tell me it is wrong for a black man to earn a good salary? Or that it is wrong to ask what you did to deserve such a dramatic hike? Or are you saying the questioner is racist for asking you and you don’t have the guts to say so straight knowing how ridiculous such an argument is.
For me, both replies come down to the race card and both replies are arrogance in essence. When you work for State or in a public position, funded by taxpayers, they have every right in law and moral obligations to ask you such questions. Giving a race card answer makes you look guilty and evasive and frankly, it is insulting and demeaning to everyone including you. But once again, sadly, we do not expect better. We are so used to the scenario and doubtless will keep on seeing it in the future. It comes down to arrogance, “don’t you dare ask me a question” or as our national police commissioner said in the text to the DA member we spoke about earlier in another blog “I am black and proud” and you know what, you should be proud of being black or white or pink. Cultural heritage is a great thing and I often write in my books about the Afrikaner and Zulu heritage. I actually have letters from both groups thanking me for that.
But tell me, where does “proud” ends and “arrogance” starts? They are vastly different concepts, one is positive and the other is negative. One is supported and entirely reasonable, the other is worthy of contempt. I wonder if these characters even realise there is a difference? In my view and many others the race card is long abused, we are in 2015 now, not 1990. Wake up and get ready to become a SOUTH AFRICAN first and a race later. No one cares what your skin colour is, only you do and it shows a remarkable inferior complex. I pity such people and so should you.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.