Our politicians seem so busy slobbering at the tax-funded public trough they fail to recognise that the professionals who deliver the services they promise so freely deserve a fair wage.
After six years at university and two years as an intern, a public service medical doctor takes home R6000 a month. Teachers, nurses and engineers face an even worse predicament.
No wonder the public service struggles to attract competent staff. And no wonder that the disgruntled medics are threatening a strike to press their demand for a salary they can live on.
Something has gone haywire in the way the government allocates the hundreds of billions of rands it collects in taxes from citizens.
Billions are frittered away on overpriced tenders for incompetent relatives and buddies of those who hold power. Billions more are wasted on handouts and luxuries for the undeserving.
Meanwhile, infrastructure from schools and hospitals to roads and transport crumbles away without maintenance.
A sudden spurt of food parcels and long-promised services at election time might buy a few votes, but restless citizens won't be fooled forever.
We need a properly staffed civil service paying fair wages to civil servants to realise the promise of our democracy.