Mbete calls on academics to participate

2009-04-02 00:00

Deputy President of South Africa Baleka Mbete has called for intellectuals and academics in higher institutions of learning to participate in the affairs of the country, saying that they have a role to play in strengthening the country's democracy.

Speaking at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Westville Campus yesterday, Mbete said that intellectuals and academics should not sit idle as if they are outsiders to the challenges facing the country.

She said that universities and other tertiary education institutions have insights that are needed for the growth and strengthening of South Africa's "teenage years" democracy.

Addressing a crowd mostly made up of students, Mbete said that universities across the country house part of the country's voices that ought to be listened to.

She said that intellectuals and academics can assist the country in matters including scientific and economic.

Mbete lambasted those who say that South Africa is heading towards a failed state.

She said that such a statement has been made by other political parties through their campaigning for the April 22 elections.

The deputy president said that such statements have negative implications for the country and the continent as there has always been utterances that nothing good can come from the dark-continent.

She said that South Africa has, in many instances, showcased that its democracy is maturing and that the country is better off now than it was under apartheid rule.

She added that the work done by the ruling party in the last 15 years had strengthened democracy as was borne out by the recalling of former President Thabo Mbeki.

This act did not make the country ungovernable.

thandom@witness.co.za

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