I do understand many of your members now are in preparations for Mangaung. I have been reading news and Media statement from you about the even and I do wish you a peaceful, free, fair and democratic elective process in elective people that will lead this country for another five years.
I want to take few minutes, not to complain as I always do, but to thank you for what you have done for me as a South African citizen thus fur. If it was not for this government; I would have never finished primary school, let alone matriculating or studying in one of the Top universities in the world with R 0.00 coming from my parents. I know, I know, for most of us South Africans love to complain, but this is simply appreciating for what you have done.
Many wonder what the ANC has done on its first 18 years leading the democratic state of South Africa. Many of us in the civil society and the Media have repeatedly said the ANC has done nothing.
This is however not true and I just want to write this letter to commend the ANC led government achievements. I have in the past complained about a lot of issues; and if I can complain, I can also commend.
Many African states have failed to maintain peace, stability and democracy for more than 18 years of gaining independence. However, the South African government has maintained this through the right of the people to elect a government of their choice in free, regular and fair multi-party elections.
Our South African constitution is hailed the best in the world. This constitution guarantees human rights for all, the rights to access to health, education, social security, food and water and minimum standards of life.
We also have a live independent judiciary system with supporting Chapter 9 institutions that are mandated to protect us the civil society.
Since 1994, the government has built over two and a half million houses for the poor, providing shelter for over 10 million South Africans.
In 1994, only 62% of households had access to clean drinking water, today 93% do.
In 1994, only 50% of households had access to decent sanitation, today 77% do.
In 1994, only 36% of South Africans had access to electricity – today 84% do. Today the majority of South African people are provided free basic services in water and electricity.
Since 1994, the government programmes have opened doors of learning. Over 8 million South African children at primary and secondary schools have benefited from school feeding schemes.
The government has opened and offered opportunities to the children of the poor. Student loans in tertiary intuitions are now being converted into bursaries for qualifying final-year students. And students in FET colleges who qualify for financial aid are now exempted from paying fees.
On my first year at UCT I got R 36 000 NSFAS loan and got R42 000 on my second year. I then thank you for the opportunity you have given me to study even though my parents could not afford to pay my fees. I am also happy to know that on my final year 2013 I won’t get another loan but a bursary from the government.
There have been big increases in spending on education. No public school can refuse admission on the grounds that a parent cannot pay the fees and 40 per cent of schools do not charge fees. The number of overcrowded schools has fallen from 51 per cent to 24 per cent in the last ten years. Schools are no longer allowed to discriminate on who can attend.
The curriculum has been changed, so that the old ideas based on a view of white supremacy and denying the contribution of black people have been substituted by a more objective and just curriculum. Schools without access to safe water reduced from 8,823 to 3,152 in ten years.
To date, the government has invested over R800 billion in infrastructure programmes that will change people’s lives and this country’s socio-economic landscape. These programmes include building roads, dams, bridges, schools, hospitals and two universities in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.
In the 18 years of democracy, we have experienced sustained economic growth for more than 15 years. South Africa is now Africa’s largest, most advanced economy with abundant natural resources. Moreover, we have a well-developed financial, legal, energy and transportation sectors.
South Africa has had the longest period of economic growth in its history. It has not needed to rely on the International Monetary Fund or World Bank as many other African countries have.
As a South African citizen I believe I have all the rights to criticize and complain about the government. I also have a responsibility to say thank you, appreciate and give credit where is due.
I must also emphasis that there is a need for government respond faster to people’s needs. The strikes are signalling a disgruntled and unhappy citizen.
N.B: I am not an Agent, and I am well aware of the challenges faces by the government. Being aware of these challenges does not mean I must be in denial and blind and choose not to recognize government achievements.
Sources : Polity.org and ACTSA “About South Africa”