Happy birthday, our motherland

2013-04-28 14:00

As we celebrate 19 years of democracy and a new social and political order, it is worth reflecting on what we have achieved.

It is a lot, despite our propensity to complain about what is not working.

In many significant ways, South Africa today is almost indistinguishable from apartheid-era South Africa.

Millions, previously homeless, have homes. Basic things like electricity, water and sanitation have reached communities that had made peace with their stone-age existence.

An ever-increasing number of sons and daughters of hewers of wood and drawers of water are accessing higher education and leading important institutions.

We have a caring state that can be statistically borne out. There is no dispute that having millions on various forms of social grants is unsustainable in the long run.

Still, it is tribute to the modern state that it has found the balance between fiscal prudence and compassion for the most marginalised.

When unbridled market activities created an increasing number of impoverished European states, South African policy makers were vindicated as ours was left largely unaffected by the storm around us.

At City Press, we know very well that it is not all perfect. We write about this, and of how some of those entrusted with state power and purse have sought to abuse their positions. In spite of this, we know how far we have come in the 19 years and we believe it is worth celebrating.

Happy birthday, Mzansi.

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