Don't forget the little people

2008-07-16 00:00

Once again the will of the people has been done. Dr Zweli Mkhize was unanimously voted in as the new African National Congress (ANC) chairperson of our province. Of course, without any doubt he will be our new premier.

Coincidentally, I attended this year’s May Day commemoration that was held at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and Mkhize was the keynote speaker. I could not help but be impressed firstly by his presence (his actually honouring the invitation) and secondly by his speech.

He touched on a lot of issues but made his stance on corruption and service delivery very clear. He gave me hope for a better life. I was listening attentively and heard him clearly when he called on people to stand up in their communities and do what is right; he also said that we need, as communities, to be proactive and not reactive. For the first time in my life I thought, now here is a politician who seems to know what he is talking about and seems to be in touch with what we want.

Mr Mkhize, we all heard you loud and clear and support you all the way.

When looking at what is going on around us one cannot help but be discouraged and disheartened and we, the voting public, really need to take a step back and examine the people whom we put in power. Are we voting for populists or real leaders?

The corruption that is going on within our government is disturbing. Financial mismanagement within different departments and provinces is frightening, to say the least. Have people forgotten why we fought for change in our country or why they were put in positions of power and influence?

Maybe being a lay person is making it difficult for me to understand politics. I never thought that being in charge of a hospital is the same as brain surgery (which is said to be difficult). Why are our officials failing to hire service providers who can deliver or simply keep our hospitals clean? How difficult is it to use funds for what they are allocated? Our public hospitals are an eyesore and nothing is being done about the situation. I believe that a lack of supervision and a lack of dedication from public service employees are to blame. Maybe I should run for public office.

I will never understand how people cannot be held accountable for wrongdoing. It is a mistake for politicians to as-sume that we, the public, are stupid and do not know that a majority of those in power are in it for their own gain. I wish I could do something that will make a real difference. I would remain the ignored minority because I am not in a position of influence but my vote is. I am not a politician and at times I battle to understand the jargon used, but what I know is that I have a right to voice my dissatisfaction with service delivery and expect something to be done about it.

Hopefully Mkhize will bring about changes that will really make a difference to the lives of us little people. Change starts from within and only begins when you change the person you see in the mirror.

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