Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
Given the extreme poverty of the majority of ordinary South Africans, it is an affront that political leaders elected after promising to change the lives of the poor are living in opulence on public money.
The majority of South Africans have no jobs, houses or food.
Given the dire situation, our leaders must start to live modestly. It was an eyesore to see some political activists campaigning in squatter camps during the elections driving top-of-the range vehicles such as Hummers while urging poor people to vote for them.
Elected leaders are living the high life on taxpayers' money. It is easier for leaders living in luxury to forget about the poor.
President Jacob Zuma must change the culture of opulence so pervasive in government.
For starters, Zuma must ban extravagant "blue-light" convoys, where one minister is chartered in a large convoy of cars driving at breakneck speed pushing other motorists off the road.
Why can't a minister and his entourage travel in one car? The crowd of security guards that surround ministers must be cut down to one per minister.
It is a disgrace that they are surrounded by so many bodyguards while ordinary citizens must face the brunt of daily crime, without bodyguards, or responsive police.
Better still, leaders must also use public transport. Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, took the bus and the train to work and meetings every day.
This also made him more accessible to ordinary citizens, who could in person vent their anger at him for a lack of delivery.
If politicians take minibus taxis, trains and buses every day, they will have first-hand experience of the daily dance of death ordinary citizens face. Leaders must also drive ordinary cars.
Leaders must also live in the constituency areas which they represent. This means if they represent Soweto, they must live there. This will also ensure they are daily reminded of the hardships and poverty of ordinary South Africans.
Ministers must stand in queues in shops like the rest of us. There should be no jumping of queues because the person is a public figure.
All VIP areas at public events that are funded by taxpayers must be banned. Leaders must mingle with ordinary people.
Furthermore, extravagant parties for officials funded by taxpayers should be banned. So too, must the huge food banquets available at meetings of government officials.
Even worse, in many state-owned companies executives give themselves performance bonuses, when they have managed failing and loss-making institutions. This is also a golden opportunity for Zuma to bring accountability into South Africa's political system.
Elected leaders who do not deliver must be fired. Under Mbeki, the most incompetent of deployees were never fired if they were loyal to the president.
Zuma's proposal to open a direct line to him, where ordinary citizens can complain about poor service delivery, corruption and indifference is a good idea.
The president must also publicly show whether action has been taken against callous government officials following complaints by ordinary citizens.
l Gumede is author of Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC