Wish we may and wish we might

2013-12-29 08:00

What a difference 365 days make in a country like South Africa.

At the start of 2013, Nelson Mandela was unwell, but our hopes were high for his speedy and complete recovery.

Oscar Pistorius was an Olympic hero and golden boy.

Julius Malema was a failing farmer who was about to lose his homes and his cabbages.

Orlando Pirates were not the second-best team on the continent and, if you’d suggested that Bafana Bafana might beat Spain, you’d be laughed out of most pubs.

But rather than looking back at what was, let’s take a look into the future and consider what we’d like to be saying in this same column in a year’s time.

For starters, we’d like to be celebrating an extremely successful election period with the highest turnout yet seen in democratic South Africa.

What better way to celebrate 20 years of democracy than by getting involved in the election process – reading party manifestoes, asking our elected officials and those who want our votes tough questions designed to get the best out of the system?

2014 should also be a year of closure.

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has been running since last October and although it’s good that this deeply important process isn’t rushed, it’s time to bring it to a close and deliver some sort of tangible justice to those who lost fathers, brothers and sons during the violence.

It is also the year for the powers that be to admit that the Seriti commission into the arms deal is a sham.

The commission has been rocked by a series of controversies, which has left serious doubts as to whether it is capable of finally laying the arms deal to rest.

Could 2014 finally be the year that doesn’t end with a grim litany of road-death figures? With a combination of visible, responsible policing throughout the year and a dramatic shift in drivers’ attitudes – as well as real consequences, like licences being suspended and serious jail time – it could be done.

And is it too much to hope that next year, City Press will be able to stop compiling a weekly “rape map”?

There is much work to be done to stop the war on South Africa’s women and children, but we are not a country that’s famous for turning tail and running in the face of struggle.

On the sporting front, we’ll hope to end the year by celebrating Kaizer Chiefs’ victory at the CAF Champions League.

And hopefully Bafana Bafana will win the African Nations Championship in January and make strides up the Fifa rankings.

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