MEC tells govt staff: 'decolonise your minds'

2010-02-15 00:00

GOVERNMENT employees’ minds need to be decolonised: some of them neglect black people and would rather serve whites, according to the KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Zweli Mkhize.

Mkhize said such employees still labour under the apartheid myth that white people are superior to blacks.

He was speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus during a lecture on the 20th anniversary of the release of former President Nelson Mandela on Friday.

He said the government will have a way to trace calls in which government employees have been rude to members of the public. Such employees will be told to apologise to those individuals.

The lecture touched on the role Mandela played in liberating South Africa and how his humility in serving his compatriots should be an example to all.

Mkhize said the youth should learn from Mandela and those who died for the liberation of the country. Would-be public servants should ensure they change how the government delivers its ­services, putting the public first.

He said ANC loyalists in the struggle for liberation were not driven by the desire for tenders.

“It’s unfortunate that those who grew up wanting to serve are now serving themselves. If those who died for this country could see the nonsense going on, they would say ‘what an injustice’,” said Mkhize.

The premier told the audience, who were mostly young people, that the intensified struggle against apartheid rule forced then president F.W. de Klerk to release Mandela and to unban the liberation movements; it was not as if De Klerk had any alternative.

After Mandela’s release, the ANC wanted to test whether the apartheid government would be willing to negotiate further. It was decided that three people should try and establish this. The ANC knew the government of the day would not negotiate if they came back in body bags. “Jacob Zuma was leading the delegation accompanied by Mathews Phosa and Penuel Maduna.”

The youth need to know about the country’s liberation, and ANC veterans need to relate such stories to the youth, said Mkhize.

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