If you are a JHB resident, then no doubt you have seen, felt and perhaps been a part of the resistance. Perhaps you are one of the 60 000 people that like a page on Facebook in defiance of eToll, or maybe you put an anti-eToll sticker on your car? Perhaps you are more the passive freedom fighter who merely had a good chuckle at the “eToll proudly brought to you by the ANC” signs over the highway. Wherever you may find yourself it is obvious is that there is a huge movement against the eTolling system on our roads. This is an issue so critical that it has brought together two very different groups in the South African political spectrum, both CASATU (The Congress of South African Trade Unions, a leftist organisation) and the Vryheidsfront (A more right-wing inclined political party).
Now, it is expected in society for people to fight for things that are important to them. However there are a many issues that are worth defending, therefore we need to know how to choose our hills to die on. Consider the following:
According to a 2006 study, 56% of South Africans believed abortion was always wrong even if there was a strong chance that the baby would have serious birth defects. A total of 70% believed it was wrong if abortion was done simply because the parents had low income and felt that they couldn’t afford to care for additional children.” If these statistics are true it is interesting that South Africans picked losing a maximum of R500 extra a month as the hill to die on in their lives; while the widespread murdering of babies remains a mere disappointing issue that we can’t/won’t do much about.
Or how about this report from Deon Chang’s book New Urban Tribes of South Africa: “According to the National Planning Commission’s Diagnostic Report, 20% of teachers in black schools are absent on Mondays and Fridays. On average, teachers in black schools spend only 3.5 hours per day teaching, compared with 6.5 hours per day in the Model C schools of the apartheid era”.[i] This leads to the question where is the public outcry and rallying behind the education of children, and the enforcing of it?
Now there is nothing wrong with working out the impending issue of eTolls but my goal in pointing this irony out is that it tells us something about ourselves. A truth that we find written in the Gospels. That where our treasures are, there our hearts will be also, because of all the racial and politically dividing issues that we have faced and continue to deal with in South Africa, it is interesting that we will finally come together and stand for something which we all hold dearly… our fight for our money; not life, not education. Is this the idol of our country? (We could argue that it is a concern for the poor, but I know my initial reaction to eTolls was not motivated by the economic consequences on the country, but I did see it as a handy aid in arguing the point)
What issues are important to you?
How do you decide what you will fight for?
Dear Christian, I pray that it is the glory of God and love for fellow man that drives you and me more every day.
[i] Chang, Dion (ed.) (2012-06-06). New Urban Tribes of South Africa (Kindle Locations 1194-1195). Macmillan South Africa (Pty) Ltd. Kindle Edition.