Max du Preez: The long list of headlines too depressing to bear
You've heard it too – people saying they're going to stop reading newspapers and watching TV news because it just depresses them more.
After reading the Sunday newspapers, I get their point.
"Holy Cow!" was the headline on a story alleging that cattle worth millions bought with state funds meant for emerging farmers actually ended up in the kraals of Jacob Zuma and other politicians.
This is the same guy who paraded as the prime champion of radical economic transformation and the empowerment of new black farmers.
The really depressing part is that this outrage will remain just that: an outrage. Or will there be a vigorous criminal investigation and prosecution? Don't hold your breath.
Another newspaper runs with the story that the ANC had identified 139 farms for expropriation without compensation – before the Constitution is changed.
Question: What would the state do with these 139 farms if it already has four thousand commercial farms that it can't get as far as to distribute? Is this just for show?
Another question: If the ANC believes that the Constitution in its present form allows for expropriation without compensation under certain circumstances, why did ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa announce so solemnly during a "presidential address" on TV that the party had decided to change it? What's the rush?
Well, the rush is the ANC's paranoia about Julius Malema and his 6%-party – or is it naked fear? The rush is that the ANC believes that the EFF is winning the propaganda battle.
Are they? If Malema is so confident of that, why would he act out Zuma's "Umshini Wam" by firing shots into the air at a rally?
Isn't it actually completely outrageous and utterly reckless for the leader of a political party in Parliament to do that? It can symbolise only one thing: violence. Bloodshed. Can it be okay for a politician to take part in the democratic process and preach bloody revolution at the same time?
Then there was the story of people who invaded a grape farm outside Stellenbosch and built shacks.
Land invasions have become par for the course. The shock here is in the detail of the story: The Stellenbosch municipality had leased 2 000 hectares of land it owns at ridiculously cheap rates to commercial farmers.
This is the same municipality that doesn't have enough land to give to people in the squatter camps or to smallholder farmers who want to keep a few cows and plant a crop or two.
Turn the page. The UDM and the EFF are conspiring with the ANC to oust Athol Trollip and the DA from the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality. It clearly doesn't matter one iota to these politicians that the metropole was virtually brought to its knees through maladministration, corruption and nepotism by the ANC before the DA took over. Screw the people, give us power.
As the ANC and EFF are slowly moving closer to each other, I suppose it is a question of time before the same happens to the DA administrations in Tshwane and Johannesburg.
Another report tells us that the ANC is approaching the Chinese Communist Party to help train its people in fighting an election campaign – something the Chinese has never done. The more the ANC changes, the more it stays the same.
Another headline proclaims that the SABC is so deep in debt that it can't pay its bills.
One of the main reasons for this sad state of affairs is one Hlaudi Motsoeneng. It wasn't only his poor management and bizarre ideas, it was also because of his decision to force a 90% local content on music stations.
This decision was welcomed widely at the time and warnings that it would have serious financial consequences were dismissed as anti-black sentiments.
It is another example of something positive – and surely encouraging local music is something positive – done recklessly and pushed through without any consideration for the consequences.
And Hlaudi is still parading about like a bantam cock, declaring that he will one day be president.
The saddest story of the weekend was the funeral of professor Bongani Mayosi, a brilliant UCT academic and role model who had committed suicide. His soul was vandalised by the #FeesMustFall activists, his family said. Let that sink in.
And then there was the story about the dangerous pollution of the Vaal River by municipalities that are pumping raw sewerage into it.
The collapse of so many local governments depresses me more than anything else. It simply isn't getting any better, not even 24 years after we became a democracy.
Instead of sewerage, perhaps we should pump tons of Valium into our rivers to save our people from depression.
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.