Apartheid: why Trevor is right

2013-04-07 10:00

There are enough reasons to blame more than 300 years of colonialism and apartheid for a lot of South Africa’s wrongs.

Centuries of institutionalised racism still mean that the majority of black people are economically marginalised – according to the 2011 Census 31% of black men and 41% of black women are unemployed, using conservative estimations.

For white men, the unemployment rate was 5% and for white women 7%.

It would be pointless trying to interrogate the poor state of our public hospitals, schools and infrastructure without investigating the impact of the brutal and oppressive apartheid system generations of black families were subjected to.

But Planning Minister Trevor Manuel is right.

There is no justification for under-performing civil servants to blame apartheid for their failures.

20 years of freedom were surely enough to figure out how to deliver textbooks to rural schools on time.

And how long can it take to replace pit latrines at all the country’s schools?

Manuel’s no-nonsense message this week should be welcomed and supported by all his Cabinet colleagues, including President Jacob Zuma.

To fix the country, the public service must be fixed.

Efforts by Manuel, flanked by Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, should be supported by all.

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