© What is wrong with South Africa?

The sense of entitlement and disregard for others.

I saw it again today. Driving into town in the fast lane on the speed limit. I was passing a truck, when out of the blue this guy and his girlfriend/wife drove up behind me. Without even slowing down he proceeded to overtake me. Disregarding the safety of the truck next to me, myself or the two oncoming vehicles. Why? Because he believes he has the right to break the law. Because those laws don’t apply to him. Because he is entitled to break the speed limit and traffic laws when it suits him.

So, if traffic laws don’t apply to him, why should any of the other laws of our country apply to him? If he is entitled to break the law when it suits him, how about if the opportunity to steal something comes his way. Do you think he will abide by the laws of the country and not steal? Or will his sense of entitlement extend to taking something that doesn’t belong to him?

For that matter look all those people who download movies from the internet and sell it cheap. Do you really think that they are doing something legal? Or does their entitlement to making a profit cover the fact that they are stealing from the business people who made that movie a reality?

Believe me this is not a race thing. I’ve seen it in all the races in South Africa. It’s also not a poor thing, since I’ve also seen it among the rich and middle class. What is interesting is that most of the people I know have that sense of entitlement to one degree or another. They are entitled to a job, money, housing, name it and they have to have it. Without any input or justification for what they want. I’m entitled to drive a fancy car. I’m entitled to a fancy title at work, whether I’ve actually earned what I believe I’m entitled is another matter all together.

Look at the strikes that have just ended. Our economic climate is terrible. These unions called a strike while demanding more than double the inflation rate. Yes, R4000 minimum wage is extremely little. But forcing the companies into retrenching workers because of the increased manpower costs, is not going to solve the problem. The only thing it’s doing is creating a larger unemployed sector of society.

Then there’s the people that believe white males cannot achieve success in a post apartheid South Africa. Why? The opportunities are still there. If you’re prepared to work for it. If you’re prepared to go the extra mile to get a job in NZ, why won’t you do it here? Don’t you think you might get the same reaction if you were prepared to give it your best here? Do you honestly believe that the companies in SA have to keep you on if you aren’t prepared to extend yourself at all?

I was brought up to believe that in order to make money and be successful, you have to work for it. You have to invest time, effort and sweat. If you have to make do with a small salary in the beginning, to accept it and work in such a manner that your superiors see what you do and give you promotions and increases. That if you carry on in this fashion, you will better yourself and be able to afford all those nice things you’ve always dreamed off. If you want something, get your butt in gear and work for it!

No, you’re not entitled to things just because you want it. No, you aren’t entitled to break the law because it’s convenient for you. Because if you think you are, you are no longer part of a lawful society. You’ve become a part of society’s problems. You are what’s wrong with South Africa.



Hi Sumanda.  An interesting piece.  I think this is a human trait, rather than particular to any one country.  There is a myriad of reasons why some have a sense of entitlement and others do not.

How do we counteract such people?

Are we ever guilty (even at a sub-conscious level) of behaving the same?

Hi Sumanda I agree. We were studying Maori whakatauiki (proverbs) last night and this one applies, Kāore te kumara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka The kumara (sweet potato) does not say how sweet he is.

Another: He kai kei aku ringa There is food at the end of my hands

We are not entitled to anything if we don't also work and contribute. What you say is important.