Let’s focus on the good

2010-05-07 00:00

THERE is more that unites us as South Africans than divides us. Yet, there seems to be more energy channelled towards what breaks us as a nation than what builds us. As citizens we often act as defenceless victims who absorb any information thrown at us by the media without question.

News headlines continuously tell us we are a bad bunch of people. We need to seize the opportunity presented by the freedom of speech laws to present our own perspectives. In this way we can enhance freedom of the press by constructively engaging with the media in an objective way.

The spectacular King Shaka airport has had the hand of every racial group in building it, from the concept stage right up to the delivery of a complete product. Unfortunately, our media in South Africa does not always play a constructive oversight role. I don’t believe in the widely held view that says “bad news sells and good news doesn’t”. I believe that it is the angle that one chooses that makes the difference.

I’m not for suggesting that there should be no coverage of bad news. Certainly, there should be, otherwise how do we keep track of destructive elements in our society who are accumulating power and influence? But there should be a balance.

I would have loved to read in the press something about the originator of the idea of the Dube Trade Port and the King Shaka airport. What informed their vision? I would have loved to see on at least one front page out of all the newspapers in our province something about the leaders of the stakeholders that made this dream come true.

Our society is still fragile and requires encouragement of that which embraces the nonracial perspective. I think this is something that is doable and will certainly not lead to a decline in sales. I remember vividly how I continuously read about and looked at the picture of Madiba with all the predominantly white rugby champions after their Rugby World Cup victory in 1995. It was good news. It certainly made financial sense too.

I believe strongly that the African National Congress has not been given sufficient credit for its exceptional management of the economy since 1994 under the most difficult circumstances. Undoubtedly, more and better has to be done. Bantu education hurt all South Africans, irrespective of their skin colour, because we are now stuck with millions of unskilled people. Unfortunately, South Africa’s venture into inclusive democracy coincided with the high-speed developments of a new era of information technology. This era has rendered unskilled labour obsolete. The HIV and Aids invasion has also undermined all efforts.

The ANC has under all these tragic circumstances navigated with care. The South African economy has proved that it is resilient. This does not mean that it has no signs of fatigue. They are there and it is the responsibility of every South African to deal with them.

KwaZulu-Natal should give itself a resounding round of applause for having the visionary leadership that has made a way towards a brighter future for the people of our province. I went to King Shaka airport to drop off a friend of mine recently. I was extremely happy when I got a glimpse into the future of our province. Young people of all racial groups have volunteered to usher passengers to the airport. Despite some minor mistakes, to me this represents the future that I want for my children. This spirit of volunteerism is what shaped leaders like Nelson Mandela and Chief Albert Luthuli, both world-renowned statesmen and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The Dube Trade Port with its 60-year vision as a dominant feature of the airport precinct is nothing short of a miracle, if one considers that many countries and millions of people around the world are counting more losses and almost zero percent gain. I’m tempted to say well done to the provincial government for investing the monies of its citizens wisely, since our leadership is often criticised. While that is good for strengthening democracy, it is equally important to give praise where it is due as it brings clearer meaning to the need to grow our democratic system.

It is really breathtaking to consider that while the whole world is trying to recover from the devastation of the economic recession we are looking at the newly constructed Moses Mabhida Stadium, the southern hemisphere’s best designed stadium, and the spectacular King Shaka International airport and the Dube Trade Port. I think our citizens must now embrace­ and celebrate this investment­.

 

• Dr Makhosi Khoza is chairperson: Economic Development and Tourism, KwaZulu-Natal Legislature.

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