Today it marks exactly 96 years since the birth of the late Madiba Mandela, commonly known as the father of the nation. This is the day to celebrate the life of the man who fought for liberation of his own people; the man who picked up an AK-47 when a need arose, who grabbed a law book and who forgave when it was necessary. We are celebrating the life of the “VIP”. He was a very important prisoner, a very important politician, a very important public servant, a very important parent.
In my view, it was so strategic of him to ask his people to put the guns down and focus on forgiving and nation building moving forward. However, by analysing one of his statements which says, “the struggle continues” it seems as if he was quite aware of the fact that the reconciliation was unjust. Furthermore, it seems like the old man knew that political emancipation only was not enough but in view of the war that was likely to strike South Africa if he did not forgive his abusers he chose to forgive. He knew that our generation will carry on with the struggle within the ANC-led government. Unfortunately the ANC-led government seem to have assumed a different route.
Instead of focusing on dealing with the triple challenges, poverty, unemployment and inequality, they seem to be doing to the poor the same things that the apartheid government did to them. Real jobs are no more in South Africa, the middle man “labour broker” has taken over employment responsibilities in South Africa because under him the benefits are fringed and the employees are cheap and easily disposable. The proletariats hired by a labour broker are always threatened by the “reserve army” of the unemployed. Majority of our young people, blacks in majority are employed on contracts of limited duration despite the fact that government is subsidising them.
Protected industrialization and advocating for local beneficiation is among the solutions needed to create sustainable jobs and reduce the devastating gap between the rich and the poor.
If the government can amend Chapter 2, section 25, subsection (2) of the constitution of the republic of South Africa such that it becomes (2) property may be expropriated only if it is in the public interest or for public purpose in terms of law of general application. Whatever, that follows underneath must be scrapped because it is unjust to buy a stolen property which will be used in the public interest. It is unfair for the state to worry about buying land from private owners. For an example if the state wants to give investors land for industrialization and also have to worry about buying that land first it prolongs the process and also compromise public money.
Since 1994, we never had a new city that was built; hence we are struggling from overpopulation in existing cities, Pretoria and Johannesburg in particular. The economy is centralized and there is a need for new cities of democracy. Let the government fulfil what Madiba fought for by doing justice to his people. The people are starving; their salaries are less than the budgets of the dogs of their bosses. Inequality is huge in this beautiful land so rich in minerals. The people of South Africa want an equal share in the wealth of their country. South Africa is rich but majority of South Africans are poor.
Ronny Mohlala and Taletso Mampuru