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The Jewish Report Editorial

Uncovering the truth

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In the run-up to this year’s election, so many of us were questioning how the African National Congress (ANC) – our governing party – went from effective bankruptcy to being able to bankroll this election and more.

While on holiday in December, I remember front-page news in our national press about how the ANC was broke despite almost R2 billion worth of donations and fundraising. I wondered then what impact that would have on our national elections to be held this coming week.

The next thing we knew, South Africa was taking Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for “genocide”, and our ruling party no longer seemed to have any financial woes. We wondered and, for the most part, that was where we left it. Somehow, it seemed almost absurd to think that our government, or any upstanding and honest leaders, would accept money to do such a thing. The fact that they took Israel to the ICJ because they believed in what they were doing was bad enough, but to then accept money to do it from Iran would be a whole other low.

And it didn’t stop there. At great cost to us, I guess, our government has just been back to the ICJ for a fourth time, and the end isn’t yet in sight.

So, when we heard that the marvellous Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) and a group of 160 top lawyers had taken up this issue and called on United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other US leaders to investigate this matter, it warmed my heart.

What’s the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished”?

I’m grateful to these lawyers and the phenomenal Nitzana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin who are pursuing this. I don’t know about you, but I want to know the truth about this party that has ruled our country since 1994, and, as it is said, will still be the predominant party going forward after next week.

What will happen to this party if the investigation goes ahead, and it’s found guilty? I can’t say, because so often, our leaders get away with murder. However, I’m happy that something is being done to uncover this, one way or another.

At least we will know because it is so important to make decisions based on knowledge. It is important to take charge of your own destiny with research-based decisions, rather than based on what people say and chat about in the streets.

So, when we head for the polls next Wednesday in what’s said to be the most important democratic election we’ve had to date, we need to do it consciously after having done our homework.

According to the experts, the ANC won’t have an outright win, so it really matters who it gets into bed with and who the kingmaker is. The latter is always important because he or she often gets away with crazy demands.

This may be frustrating for many of us because we could be in for more of what we already have – corruption, mismanagement, and neglect. But this is why it’s essential that we use our vote wisely.

We dare not sit back and let it all happen, and then complain about the outcome. This is our country, and it’s up to us to do our bit to ensure the best future for all of us.

I get frustrated on hearing people saying they don’t know who to vote for, so they won’t vote. Isn’t that a bit like saying, “I can’t choose anything to eat, so I won’t eat”. Or, “I can’t decide which route to take home, so I won’t go home.” It simply doesn’t make sense.

It also doesn’t make sense to vote for a party because you’ve always voted for it. If you have always voted for the ANC, let’s just say, and it hasn’t delivered what you had hoped it would, why would you keep voting for it? Another analogy: you buy bread every day to be delivered, but it rarely arrives. When it does sometime arrive, it’s stale. Do you keep buying bread from the same place, or do you change your supplier? I know what I would do.

For most of us, it’s not easy to trust politicians because we believe they’ll say what they believe we want to hear. The point is, who will put their money where their mouth is? Who will make it their business to turn our economy around, tackling unemployment, and other ongoing crises? I don’t have the answer. My crystal ball is on the blink, but I have read and listened a lot, and have made my choice. Have you?

It was so encouraging to see the turnout of South Africans around the world – other than Israel – to place their vote. Some travelled far to make their mark. From those of us who actually live here, I thank them.

As we move into voting week, there have been concerns about rioting and violence.

It’s important to note that the CSO and its police and security counterparts are and will be on high alert. I can almost guarantee that there will be fearmongering social media on the day of elections. For some reason, there are people who get a kick out of frightening us.

Make sure you don’t automatically forward what arrives in your inbox. Check that it’s true, and if you can’t see it with your own eyes and it’s not from a verifiable source, don’t trust it.

As a community, we’re really good at overreacting. Perhaps it’s in our genes, or maybe it’s something we find in the Pronutro or shakshuka we eat every morning. It gets us nowhere. Staying calm and working out the best way forward is first prize.

Our community has an exemplary security network that does an amazing job of protecting us. Let’s leave it to them, but at the same time, let’s not take unnecessary risks.

Let’s take care, and go out and vote for our future and the future of this magnificent country.

Shabbat Shalom!

Peta Krost


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