30/03/2009 09:02 - (SA)
Almost exactly 15 years ago, Nelson Mandela took the oath of office as President of the Republic of South Africa and our country immediately became the world's most shining example of a constitutional democracy at its best.
We smiled, walked tall and generally looked down our noses at far less perfect democracies like the USA, UK, and Europe.
Today, we are not the world's best example of a constitutional democracy. If anything, the only sort of democracy we can lay claim to is a Selective Democracy, which is probably the worst kind of democracy there is.
Selective Democracy is so bad that it's actually almost better to come right out and admit to being a one party dictatorship of a country in which the favourite national pass time is social one-upmanship.
You know you live in a Selective Democracy when:
When the most visible result of a decade and a half of affirmative action and black economic empowerment is 500 exceedingly rich fatcats and just as many unemployed as there were before. Now, because of these fine examples set by politicians, the whole country is getting in on the Selective Democracy act.
To ordinary people, Selective Democracy means:
The list of examples of Selective Democracy goes on and on and, let's face it, not only politcians and businessmen, but a huge number of ordinary folk who are guilty, even in some small way, of manipulating democracy to suit themselves.
But, who is to blame? Who the heck started it all?
Well, there is only one answer to that. It starts by the people who lead us. Politicians and businessmen.
The examples they set by being so patently selective in the way they either vociferously uphold democracy or simply ignore it when it suits them can't help but have an impact on society.
It is the start of a process that has more and more ordinary law abiding people thinking: "Well, if they can do it, why can't I."