Failures sadden Jay

2013-09-04 00:00

FORMER politician and government official Jay Naidoo said he is saddened by the failure of government to fulfil promises made to the people after 1994.

He was talking to The Witness just before he was awarded an honorary doctor of technology degree in engineering and built environment by the Durban University of Technology yesterday.

Naidoo, who currently chairs the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (Gain), said among the values instilled in him by his mother during his time in politics were respect, compassion, serving the masses and honesty.

In a Facebook posting, he honoured her for this, saying “Honoured to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the Durban University of Technology today. Dedicate it to my Mother, Biko, Barayi & Madiba.”

Asked if these values, honesty in particular, were the core of the current leadership in government of the day, Naidoo said in organisations, whether in government or trade unions, there were good and bad people.

“Today, it saddens me to see the rampant increase of corruption in government. I’m saddened that half of our people go to bed hungry, and the state of our health institutions, all this because of lack of these core values.”

Responding to a question on his feelings about the emergence of new political parties, whether he thought they would bring change, and if he would ever consider joining one of them, he said: “The generation of Nelson Mandela and the 1976 generation fought for democracy, and political freedom. It is everyone’s right to form political parties. However, it must be noted that meaningful democracy is more than casting a vote giving political representatives a five-year mandate to govern.

“Democracy is about us ensuring that we are vigilant every day and denounce the wrongdoings of those taking advantage of their positions in our communities”.

Naidoo said he took a decision never to go back to government or formal politics. However, he would continue to support endeavours to provide better services to the people.

“We have a right to disagree with policies, hence my stand against the Protection of State Information Bill [State Secrecy Bill]. It is our generation’s role to help and guide the new generation,” he said.

The university conferred the honorary doctorate on Naidoo for his contribution to the area of built environment and his “untiring commitment” to community welfare issues.

In 1975, the Durban-born Naidoo enrolled for a B.Sc. degree at the University of Durban-Westville, but abandonded his studies after Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko was killed in 1977. He served in the democratic government in various portfolios from 1994 to 1999 and is currently serving in an advisory capacity in various international organisations, including the International Telecommunications Union and Unesco.

“Jay has made a significant contribution to our nation and his work continues to make a positive impact around the world,” said the institution’s senior director of corporate affairs, Alan Khan.

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