Madiba’s legacy part of ANC’s vision

2009-03-24 00:00

President Nelson Mandela’s legacy of reconciliation will be part of the national agenda of a new ANC government, the party’s treasurer-general Matthews Phosa told a breakfast gathering of the Progressive Business Forum (PBF) in Durban yesterday.

Phosa said South Africa must never drop Mandela’s legacy.

“We must pull all that is positive together and the nation must be invited to work together, both black and white, and irrespective of political persuasions,” he said.

He added that this won’t happen on its own and partnerships will have to be formed.

“In the end we must ensure that everybody feels part of South Africa. They must live the reality of that dream and every South African must taste, feel and experience it,” he added.

According to Phosa, the ANC will emerge the winner after the April 22 elections and the party’s task now is to ensure that they will be able to govern. There already is a transitional team in place that is thoroughly prepared to ensure that the new government will hit the ground running, he said.

Phosa expanded on his theme of Mandela’s legacy, saying that the country must not make the mistake that it has arrived as a nation. He said there is a lot to do in terms of reconciliation and nation building.

He said future work must continue to bring black and white together and make every minority grouping feel part of South Africa. “We need more positive songs about each other and to get rid of bitterness and narrow vision, we need to liberate our identity from the past,” he said.

ANC KZN chairman Dr Zweli Mkhize noted the debate on Affirmative Action (AA), saying what may be seen as the impact of AA is in reality the effect of the slow economic growth. He said while Indian and coloured school leavers do not get jobs, there are as many African matriculants sitting at home without work. He said the challenge is to work towards economic growth so that more people can get jobs. In the end it is a balancing act to ensure that all sectors of the community are accommodated and that needs to be understood by all South Africans, he said.

Both Phosa and Mkhize also stressed the importance of including the poor in the South African dream. Phosa said more than 60% of the country’s population live in the rural areas. “If there is anything that African leaders have done wrong, it is to ignore the majority of rural people. They have not enjoyed the freedoms we all talk about.”

Mkhize said the huge level of urban migration needs to be stemmed and there needs to be development in rural areas. He said a major challenge facing South Africa is the increasing level of inequality — the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer.

Mkhize added that this is why it is important to have Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment to ensure stronger value for a larger number of people. He said future risks will not come from ideological differences, but that the high levels of poverty could well destabilise South Africa’s democracy.

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