This week, my confidence in Mzansi was somewhat restored by a feisty, young and vibrant lady who happens to be in charge of one of the sporting institutions in Gauteng at a time when I was about to give up on my beloved country.
I mean, we have become almost immune to what in the past used to be shocking revelations about widespread corruption and looting of government or parastatals coffers where billions if not trillions have been stolen with impunity and nothing is being done about it.
There are paralyzing stories that could make you throw up in disgust, about how more than R240-m earmarked for small scale farmers in the failed Estina Dairy project in the Free State had been systematically looted by the infamous Gupta brothers with the aid of unscrupulous government officials.
The Venda Business Society Bank has been looted of more than R2-billion and the jury is still out on the South African Airways which is also said to have been looted and the airline is on its knees and unable to pay salaries of its staff members.
Power utility Eskom has experienced it all, fraud, corruption and downright looting of a reported (R1-Trillion) and the same applies to arms manufacturing company Denel, which has to go to government on its knees begging for a bail-out in order to keep functioning.
Once the beacons of the country’s rail transportation – both Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) – have been looted of more than R40-billion and how they are still functioning is beyond my comprehension.
The Police Crime Intelligence fund, established to combat crime and gather intelligence, has been cleaned bare by crooked cops. Is it any wonder then, that there is so much crime on our streets because the men in blue that are supposed to protect us are busy jostling with criminals to loot state institutions?
It is for this reasons that I felt like clapping for one Mbali Hlophe, the erstwhile MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture in Gauteng for her crusade in bringing to book crooks and criminals that looted the sport department before she took over.
It is reported that while our police services have pushed their heads deep into the sand under the mistaken belief that when they take their heads out, the shame and scandal around the HM Pitje Stadium shall have disappeared.
More than R78-m was budgeted for the refurbishment of the stadium, but since 2006, the money intended for the construction of this iconic venue has ended up in some people’s back pockets and none of our police services seem to have a clue who looted the funds.
I’m not a sleuth but those experienced in such matters will tell you to follow the paper or money trail. And if the government paid out R78-million to construction companies that won tenders to spruce up the stadium, then it stands to reason that they should start there.
But it has taken a pocket-sized dynamo called Hlophe to rattle and shake hardened criminals that are reportedly running scared as the innocent looking Flower – (Mbali) goes on a crusade to recoup the money looted by criminals in Gauteng.
Bravo to Mbali and we are confident that finally our children will have the pleasure of utilizing facilities that they have been denied the opportunity to enjoy by greedy crooks and shysters whose days are numbered because Hlophe is coming after them!