No gift big enough for Ndebele

2009-05-29 00:00

SOME years ago, in the pages of one newspaper, I made a compelling argument why as ordinary citizens we should celebrate members of the Fourth Estate who tirelessly go out of their way to bring us news in the comfort of our homes. Some of the news brought to our attention as ordinary people has been acquired under trying conditions or at times in the face of death. However, some members of the Fourth Estate have been a poor example of their profession and undoubtedly epitomise gutter journalism.

For instance, for the past two weeks or so, newspapers have dedicated their lead pages to the newly appointed Minister of Transport, Sibusiso Ndebele, and his receipt and return of the gifts unsolicited from contractors who graduated from a torn-apart economic background to a more affluent one. Instead of contextualising the origin and the rationale behind the giving of these gifts to Ndebele, the narrow angle through which stories were approached was confined to sensationalism, triggering no public debate about his performance whatsoever.

No newspaper has tried to take the citizens of this country through the sterling work Ndebele has done over the years. Various economic empowerment programmes that he started while he was at the helm of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport are testimony to his selflessness. Zibambele projects, for instance, empowered men and women in rural areas to venture into the construction industry through building of roads. Those roads contribute to economic development through transportation of goods from urban to rural areas and vice versa. It is through such projects that established construction companies teamed up with emerging ones on a joint-venture basis as a measure for sustainable economic empowerment.

Lest we forget, Ndebele, aptly supported by the African National Congress in the province, ensured that economic empowerment, irrespective of political affiliation, took place while the provincial government was under the directionless leadership of the Inkatha Freedom Party. For 10 years as the MEC of Transport, serving no fewer than three IFP premiers, Ndebele never lost focus of the grand agenda: having the ANC lead the provincial government.

Through road safety programmes, Ndebele continued to walk in the footsteps of other selfless leaders who never fail to grab the opportunity to be responsive to responsibilities attached to taking the leadership baton. It was one of the reasons that the University of Zululand conferred an honorary doctorate on Ndebele for his exceptional work in transportation and fighting for a free South Africa.

This year marks the 11th African Renaissance Festival which has also been championed by Ndebele.

At the beginning of this year, the Auditor-General, Terrence Nombembe, hailed Ndebele’s provincial administration in matters that pertain to audit reports by provincial departments and municipalities. As if that was not enough, a Markinor research survey released its research findings that concluded that Ndebele was the best premier in the country.

Members of the Fourth Estate will in no way present us with the positive perspective that is rich with the sterling contributions Ndebele made towards the economic emancipation of men and women who are today proud business entrepreneurs in the construction industry in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ndebele should take a word of advice from the words of Nigerian writer Sanusi Lamido Sanusi: “Every moment in life is a moment of history. Every present action immediately becomes past and roles played today will be remembered tomorrow with pride or shame, satisfaction or regret.”

Ndebele’s only crime, of which he will forever be guilty, is his deep love for this country, the freedom of which he fought for selflessly. There is no gift big enough for him. That goes for all his peers and freedom fighters of this blessed country.

 

• Smanga Sethene is an independent communication strategist.

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