Cope's agenda

2008-12-12 00:00

DRAFT policies announced ahead of this weekend’s launch of the Congress of the People (Cope) raise questions of considerable national importance. Among other issues, the agenda emphasises manufacturing and agriculture in the context of job creation.

One of the many failings of current government policy has been unquestioning acceptance of globalisation. Cope’s policy chief Smuts Ngonyama criticises the outcome as exporting production; but might more vividly have described it as importing unemployment. This is a disastrous situation for a developing nation still emerging from the ravages of apartheid. Not only have many people lost their jobs, but imported goods are at the mercy of a weakened rand.

While short-term remedial measures should be sought, in the long term world trends are unavoidable and Cope is right to isolate education as the crucial sector. This country will rapidly fall behind others unless the crisis in primary and secondary education is addressed and reasonable levels of literacy and numeracy are achieved by the majority of school leavers. The suggestion that compulsory schooling be extended to the age of 16 is thus commendable.

The new party’s affirmation of the inclusive, non-racial vision of Nelson Mandela will be widely welcomed. Cope’s importance lies in the challenge to the centralising, vanguardist tendency of the ruling party and its desire to live in a liberation-movement time warp.

Adoption of a policy of electoral reform that allows direct election of key office bearers could offer the electorate a real chance to make a more meaningful mark on the political landscape. Such change would remove from the ruling party the luxury of the dubious practices of deployment and recall.

But reports have omitted to mention another important idea aired at the November national convention that would address the meltdown in government at all levels. This was the suggestion put forward by Thozamile Botha that no public servant should be allowed to be a party political office bearer exposed to potential conflict of interest. The importance of Cope lies in its willingness to promote policies that strengthen democracy. Independence of the public service should not be forgotten.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.