I had been gearing up to say something snide about Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s ridiculous call for a reinstitution of national service.

I know many people will instinctively approve of her suggestion. It speaks directly to our despair about the failure of  the education system and the worry about the “Lost Generation”.

Well, be that as it may, I cannot overstate how bad an idea I think this is – and how arrogant and undemocratic the assumptions behind it are. I mean, she says in motivation of the idea, that the service delivery protest are being fronted by “our youth, with excessive anger and misdirected energy and frustration etched on their faces.” Misdirected? Huh, I don’t think so.

But my breathless indignation aside, how could anyone imagine that it would be an efficient allocation of our scarce national resources to have the bloated and increasingly ridiculous institution of the SANDF provide a rite of passage ritual for youth leaving school?

So anyway, while I was gearing up to say something I came across Jacob Dlamini’s opinion piece in today’s Business Day. It is so good and so well written that I humbly suggest you read what he has to say.

Click on the first few paragraphs below to go to the full story on the Business Day site.

Sisulu patronises SA’s legitimately angry youth

THEY just don’t get it, do they? Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told Parliament on Tuesday that she wanted to reintroduce conscription. According to a report by Business Day Online, Sisulu said this “will not be a compulsory national service, but an unavoidable national service”. She was quick to say the government did not want to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Sisulu reportedly told Parliament that she wanted the defence force to provide a rite of passage for young people “leaving school with no skills and no prospect of being absorbed into a labour market that is already glutted”. She said: “Every culture known to men has a process of coming of age. This includes some initiation into responsible adulthood, where the line is drawn from childish ways to purposeful, responsible adult behaviour. We can do that for this country, because that is the one thing we need, to build a future for our development and prosperity. A place where the young unemployed can find skills, dignity and purpose.”

Sisulu presides over the most pampered, but also the most inefficient military in Africa, what on earth makes her think the aged, generally obese, unprofessional and ill- disciplined South African National Defence Force is equipped to teach young people about “responsible adult behaviour”?

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