When you vote, think far ahead

2011-04-02 12:33

In his column in last week’s City Press, Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya said that it was this country’s history of racial oppression – which he described as his “scar tissue”– that would dictate his vote, rather than the delivery record of any particular party.

I am a black South African who by virtue of history carries and shares the pain of our people. My parents, siblings and family are still living the legacy left by our past.

Apartheid not only took away the vote but also access to services. It is this access that acts as liberator to our people. This is our new struggle.

I am reminded of the line from the Freedom Charter, that South Africa can only be a great country if it truly does “belong to all who live in it”.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) vision of an open opportunity society for all is based on a desire to see all South Africans afforded the opportunity to fulfil their own potential.

By broadening access to better services for all, by offering our children quality education and by creating an environment that nurtures growth and job creation, we can move towards becoming a nation where each of us is truly invested in its future.

I will be asked by my daughter one day what I did to further the progress of our country in its liberation from the past.

I will tell her that I made choices to help ensure that she could be safe, have access to resources and live in a city she can be proud of.

It is through the creation of such a society that South Africa will truly belong to all who live in it.

This stands in stark contrast to the vision of the future put forward by the ANC, which seeks instead to establish a closed crony society where only a select, politically connected few stand to benefit Our transition to democracy was not the end of the fight for the freedom of our people. In many ways it was just the beginning.

There is no victory in voting for a party that has liberated South Africans in the past, but then closed the opportunities that are available to them in the present. Such a vote does not honour our history.

In fact, it undermines the integrity of what so many fought for, for so long.

The ANC seeks to use the role it has played in the past to compensate for its failure to deliver in the present.

The DA, on the other hand, seeks to tackle the injustices of the past by ensuring that South Africans receive the basic services that will enable them to move from being state-dependent to self-reliant.

We must remain mindful that the past is relative. For our children, the present that our choices shape will become their past.

When casting our vote, we cannot and should not consider solely ourselves and our generation, but also the implications that our choices will have for the generations that follow us.

Our past and collective story is significant, and while requiring thorough consideration it ought not hold our future to ransom.

On May 18, voters will face a choice between supporting the ANC and remaining in the past, or supporting the DA and building a better future.

Moya says that he votes “taking into account the humiliation of his father’s generation and his son’s aspirations.”

The best way we can honour those who have gone before us, and offer the most to those who succeed us, is by voting for a party that can deliver the brightest future possible to our people.

» Maimane is the DA’s mayoral candidate for Johannesburg

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