The time for small talk is over

2008-10-01 00:00

It was Charles Darwin who said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

The past 14 years have been an eye-opener for many of us. Democracy was a new thing for many of us, and we were excited to be able to vote for the government of our choice.

The big talking point after South Africa’s first national elections was the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Many people saw this as an opportunity for impoverished people to finally get the assistance from their government to own their own homes and to raise their families with dignity and pride.

As challenging as this was, unfortunately it did not become the great success that many expected it to be. It seemed to benefit a few, with many left wondering when their promises would be realised.

Fast track to the 2004 general elections. This time the focus had shifted to service delivery and poverty alleviation and the jury is still out on the success of these. It has not been ignored that the ANC has done a lot in terms of availing essential services like water and electricity to the neediest of communities.

Problems like crime and un-employment are still foremost on the priority list of many. It’s okay for any party to campaign and say what its intentions are, it’s quite another showing those outcomes as tangible, measurable results.

The coming elections are more crucial to the ANC than ever. Never mind the internal struggles that are clearly threatening to create a breakaway party between the two centres of power, — the greatest predicament is the one that lies ahead. Many of us have been patient and getting used to this whole democracy concept.

Many black people have been accused of voting blindly and allowing the ANC to abuse its power. As guilty as many of us are of this, in our defence we were trying to give the ANC the benefit of the doubt and the chance to redeem itself.

Moving from oppression to democracy has not been an easy feat. The challenges have been great and the resistance and pessimism even greater. The time for excuses and small talk is over, we have been patient long enough. We acknowledge and are grateful for all the achievements thus far, but the time has come to focus on the things that really matter.

We know very well that crime is an issue close to many South African hearts. Regardless of social standing or race, this is the one issue that we want solved equally as a matter of urgency.

The government on the other hand wants to focus on poverty, and rightly so. I believe that if crime is solved though, it would have a direct impact on other important issues like unemployment, poverty, skills shortage, interest rates and the overall economic outlook.

The ANC might not have worried about these before now, but this time I don’t think the party can afford to ignore the will of the people any longer. It’s a known fact that most of us do not think that we have many options in terms of other political parties to vote for.

But if the ANC does not get its house in order without delay, then I feel the time might just be right for another political party to finally steal the thunder from just under the ANC’s feet.

Another party might not win the election, but it might garner just enough support to scare the ANC into some real action or face being the opposition party in the not too distant future if they don’t get their house into order.

— News 24.

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