Former treasurer in the ANC Matthews Phosa and human rights lawyer George Bizos have blamed the recent spate of violence and other problems facing the country on corruption and the poor leadership. Speaking at the Mail and Guardian and University of South Africa Critical Thinking Forum in Pretoria on Thursday, Phosa said the problem facing South Africa at the moment was due to lack of quality leaders, which resulted in the right people not being appointed to critical jobs. “It makes me worry that people with the right skills are not appointed. There are more protests than during apartheid,” he said. He went on to say that this could be seen in the concerns that were enveloping virtually every major parastatal like the SABC, the South African Post Office, the South African Airways as well as the Eskom.
Also speaking at the same event, human rights lawyer, Advocate George Bizos concurred with Phosa, saying that while the government was reluctant to spend money on the rights of individuals, a lot of it was being washed away in the river of corruption and maladmistration. “When we remind ourselves of the words of the Constitutional Court and the dilemma it faced in not wanting to overburden the state financially when considering the realisation of rights, it sickens me to think of the billions of rands lost to corruption and maladministration,” he said.
Turning to the recent spate of attacks on foreigners, Bizos said the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, would have been ashamed of what was happening to foreign nationals in present day South Africa. He went on to argue that what was happening in South Africa at the moment could not be described as xenophobia, which meant the fear of foreigners but rather as the hatred of foreigners. He went on to elaborate how he knew what it was like to be foreigners since he and his family had migrated to Greece as refugees. He said that his family was lucky as they were received with open arms at the time. He said he would never have imagined South Africans could display such cruelty against their brothers and sisters.