CAPE TOWN — It’s not called the Gravy Train for nothing.Author of the anti-proportional representation blog Disconnected Democracy, Graham Sell, lays out the tracks of our voter tears upon which politicians earn salaries far greater than 99% of those they represent. They’re a law unto themselves until they really stuff up or steal big time and are called to testify before the relevant parliamentary portfolio committee or it’s provincial or municipal equivalent. In Zuma’s day, not even the Hawks or the National Prosecuting Authority would move against a politician without the ruling party’s go-ahead. Instead, protected in the scaly shoals they swim in where one fishy character cannot be distinguished from another because of the proportional representation system, they continue to be unaccountable, regardless of new party leadership. Worse then that, they flaunt their new-found wealth like Royals before the unwashed masses, striking envy and fear into their hearts. Until election time, when party manifestos and rhetoric are hauled out to win them another five-year ride. Forget about principles, or a better life for all. It’s a great job if you can get it. That is until the masses actually pull up the tracks and derail the train. – Chris Bateman
By Graham Sell*
The appalling behaviour of ANC, EFF and UDM councillors in Nelson Mandela Bay’s council chamber on Thursday 29th March 2018 provides further irrefutable proof that once elected, politicians become a law unto themselves.
It is blatantly obvious these people have no concern for their constituents, so why on earth did they choose a career in politics? The simple answer is that politics is just another business opportunity that pays better than most jobs, not only in South Africa, but worldwide. The £77k per year basic salary for Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom puts them in the top 5% of earners in the UK, and the $174k per year basic salary for Senators in the United States puts them in the top 3% of earners in the USA.
South African politicians, however, top this list. According to SARS 2016 published statistics, out of more than 19 million registered taxpayers in South Africa, only 19,834 are paid more than R1million – a relatively small number of people that, shock and horror, includes Members of Parliament, Government Ministers, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Executive Mayors of larger municipalities, Municipal Managers and members of Executive Committees in Metro councils etc. etc.
If you haven’t worked it out yet, a R1m+ annual basic salary puts most SA politicians not in the top 5%, nor the top 3%, but in the top 0.1% of registered taxpayers. In other words, 99.9% of South Africans earn less than most politicians throughout all levels of what we laughingly refer to as “Government”! High incomes, coupled with Napoleon Bonaparte’s observation “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap” explains why so many self-serving idiots are in political positions of authority.
In this parallel universe, politicians behave as if they are the most elite of the elite. They indulge in obscenely conspicuous displays of wealth that serve no purpose other than to impress “the masses” with their exalted status. Ex-President Jacob Zuma has been seen wearing R500k Swiss watches, yet he never managed to turn up anywhere on-time – ever; the Gucci Marxists of the EFF have been seen wearing $1000 Louboutin shoes while driving top-of-the-range luxury vehicles, only to change into their public-performance outfits of pristine condition overalls and hardhats, neither of which have seen a hard day’s work in their 5 years of wear.
Such behaviour adds credence to the presumption that political parties in South Africa are just for-profit businesses. Their “ideological manifestos” are simply the packaged products they use to attract the largest possible market share of voters. The bigger their market share, the more profitable the business becomes.
Political parties actively encourage their public representatives to throw National Interest…