Credit must be given where it’s due.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speechwriters have come up with goods when they are required to.
Who can forget that Thuma Mina moment that made the country sit up and really believe that the one the country had been waiting for had arrived?
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It was a speech that evoked the spirits of Hugh Masekela and Nelson Mandela all at once. The messiah was at hand. And the country waited and waited. And it is still waiting.
The country sent him like his Thuma Mina speech implored. But he just never went. He sat idle at his comrades plundered the country, even during the worst times during the pandemic.
His speechwriters did him a solid again for his last State of the Nation Address (Sona) this past week. They came up with a gem in that Tintswalo narrative, the imaginary 30 year old from the Eastern Cape who was born in 1994, the year democracy arrived in this country.
Tintswalo’s story succeeded in getting the country to focus on something alongside the ruling party’s failures. Tintswalo made Ramaphosa trend again, thanks to his speechwriters.
Tintswalo, as her Tsonga name implies, gave Ramaphosa mercy when he needed it the most.
But the country knows him now. And everyone was quick to remind him that so many other Tintswalos fell by the wayside because of the lack of political will of his ruling party to fix itself and the country.
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Tintswalo, a name that’s mostly given to females, would not only have benefitted from receiving basic water, electricity and free education, she would have lived the past 30 years with the fear that all women live with in this country: the fear that every 36 seconds she could be raped.
And her rapist would most likely never be caught (only 50% of the reported cases of rapes end up with an arrest).
Chances are Tintswalo would never have reported it because only 31% of victims report rape to law enforcement because they never get justice. Maybe Tintswalo would have attended university for free and earned herself a medical degree and made her parents proud.
And she would be in a prime position to take her parents and siblings out of the RDP house that they got from Nelson Mandela’s administration.
But Tintswalo could be one of the 700 doctors who are currently unemployed because provinces just do not have enough money in their health budgets to employ these desperately-needed doctors.
She would also learn that administrators at the Tembisa Hospital bought skinny jeans with money meant for health workers and patients.
And that this ANC administration has failed to prosecute those behind the murder of Babita Deokaran, who exposed the corruption that cost the hospital close to R1 billion.
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Tintswalo, whom Ramaphosa and his speechwriters wanted to fashion into the poster child of ANC successes over the past 30 years, would have most probably attended a funeral or three of her loved ones who were murdered by faceless criminals who will never get prosecuted because some leader of the ruling party politicised police intelligence structures to ensure he never got arrested for looting state funds.
As a result police intelligence is almost nonexistent. So criminals go free. The national child, Tintswalo, might have chosen to go the entrepreneurial route.
Saved some money, pursued her dream and started a plastics manufacturing company. Today, she would be laying off workers because of electricity blackouts.
Tintswalo was lucky she didn’t experience apartheid, but her parent’s liberators also stole so much from her.