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United we stand, divided we fall

28 June 2013, 12:08

This article is not an attack on a specific political party, nor is it intended to polarize or offend. The goal is simply to encourage thought on how we as South Africans can effect change in our government, society and workplace. This article will not address the system of Apartheid, although it's profound effects on South Africa are still being felt in South Africa today. It is about addressing the issues faced by South Africans today, and what could be done to help save us from the current path we walk down as a country, and as a nation. This is an appeal to government and all South African political parties to help create a set of decisive policies that will help uplift all South Africans, and create a foundation on which future generations can benefit and progress. I cannot touch on all the woes that we as South Africans carry, but I do want to outline the main policies and how they should be dealt with, if we are going to move forward.

First and foremost, Education. Countries are built upon education, this is a simple fact. The education system in South Africa is failing. In my belief the government has adopted the wrong set of policies to deal with this problem, hence they have become part of the problem. It is every South African's right to have an education, this is set in stone in the tome of our great constitution. The simple fact is that the government has decided to take the easy way out, by lowering the education standard of our country. I know this is a touchy subject, but hear me out before you comment. The correct way for the government to have addressed this problem is not by lowering the standard of our education system, but by ensuring that each and every South African gets uplifted within a well set progressive educational system. Public schooling across South Africa would have to go through major reforms in order to do this (I know some of you are looking at Limpopo and shaking your heads, but it can be done). The key goal here is to uplift all South African citizens, to give everyone a firm footing on which they can make informed decisions for themselves, and to place our citizens in a position to compete on a global scale. How would the South African government do this? By following the guidelines of the constitution.

  1. Government must form a progressive national education system. It's emphasis is the upliftment of the people of South Africa to compete on a global scale.

  2. The budget necessary to make this education system available to all. (This includes upgrading of current public institutions, and implementation of facilities and resources to make the system achieve it's goals.

  3. A national program, ensure the effectiveness of our country's teachers in providing this education. This will ensure that the teachers are all of the same quality, as well as ensuring that our teachers are equipped with a good set of tools they can use.

  4. A secondary budget that subsidizes public schools to ensure that all of South African's citizens can receive education. (This would be moving towards a free public school system)

  5. Government programs should be set up (with the help of the private sector) to help those students that cannot go to a university. The programs should be aimed at getting the students productive in society. These programs can take the forms of:

  • Agricultural Programmes, aimed to educate future commercial farmers. This can be assisted by the agricultural sector in the way of apprenticeships.

  • Trade Skills Programmes. South Africa faces a trade skills shortage. Government can set a program to train tradesmen. Private sector companies can assist and benefit in the training of these individuals. These students can also be employed with municipalities.

  • Infrastructural Development Program. This will help reduce government spending on internal country infrastructure, instead of relying on foreign companies.

    But to name a few. The goal is to uplift our society through education. This will ensure that every South African has the same rights and the same opportunities. The idea is to make South Africa a productive society. This will boost South Africa's economy, reduce crime and poverty. Programs can give birth to government companies which focus on export of materials and goods, and who's net profit can be set into the educational budget. These companies would compete in, but not monopolize industries, as set out in our constitution.

    Next, lets focus on crime (including corruption). As we all know in order for society and government to function the level of crime must be reduced. I believe there is not enough decisive policies in place to deal with this issue. This subject is a touchy one in our country. Our constitution protects all citizens including criminals. However, it does not save a person who perpetrates a crime in being prosecuted and convicted. Corruption in all spheres of government whether local, provincial or national are subject to the country's laws regarding crime. Policies dealing with crimes committed by government officials are ineffective. The Education system as mentioned above cannot work with the current corruption levels in all government spheres. Some of the decisive policies dealing with government crime should be:

  • Any government person found guilty of corruption, will be fired immediately upon conviction. The convicted government person may not be re-instated (unless found not guilty on appeal) nor hold any form of government office enforced from national to municipal level from the date of conviction.

  • The government will reclaim the amount back through a community service infrastructure program.

  • The law must dictate the length of the sentence to be served by the perpetrator, not political party internal disciplinary processes.

With the aid of Infrastructural Development Program, current prison systems should be upgraded and new prison systems built to ensure the overcrowding of prisons is dealt with. Privileges that prisoners currently enjoy, barring the ones set out in the constitution should be removed, if found guilty it is not your right to watch DSTV! Prisoners that have the wish to uplift themselves can be integrated into government programmes subject to a court ruling based on an evaluation.

Government need be decisive in training a police force that is up to the task in protecting South African citizens rights. The government must have policies in place that insure that the police force is adequately equipped and have the necessary resources available to do their job.

  • A Government Police Training Program. To give the police force the tools it needs in dealing with all forms of crime.

  • A Specialist Police unit that polices both the police force and government structures, which have been given the tools necessary to deal with crime originating within the spheres of government and police force.

  • An effective reservist police force per municipality.

  • An Agricultural police force intended to deal with the violent crime committed on farmers. This police force helps insure food security.

I could break down the police force into ideal departments but for sake of keeping this article as short as possible, I will leave that up to you, the readers to suggest them. These policies should benefit all South Africans as we have a right to feel protected and secure

Lastly, I want to address the policies of service delivery and infrastructure. I could carry on mentioning policies that have failed and need to be re-addressed but in trying to keep this article as short as possible I have picked 3 that affect all South Africans both directly and indirectly. The government should take a lead role in addressing service delivery problems and infrastructural problems. In the educational policy section I mentioned having an Infrastructural Development Program run by government. This has amazing potential to not only be an educational program, but to help assist infrastructure development, especially if it were concentrating on the upliftment of rural areas and poor communities. This Program would increase employment within those areas as well as provide infrastructure that is sadly lacking partly due to the incompetence of the areas municipalities and local government. I believe the RDP initiative is a good one, but I disagree with it's implementation. Firstly, the RDP is an upliftment program, designed to uplift those who do not have houses and basic services. RDP houses are currently outsourced, and I believe that the community in which the RDP houses are being built should benefit. Through the Infrastructural Development Program local people can be empowered to build their own communities houses, and be taught to maintain these structures. They are the ones through this program that will assist in building community clinics and schools. Municipalities need to step up their game regarding the delivery of basic services. With municipalities working in conjunction with a program like the Infrastructural Development Program basic services will be delivered within the mandate given to provide the community with basic services.

The South African government is not doing enough to ensure equality for all. The policies set are not decisive enough to effect change. I believe that we can be a great country. The government must remember that first and foremost they are public servants, put in office by the will of the populace. They are mandated to carry out, to the best of their ability, good governance of the country, and to ensure that the constitution is upheld. They are there to ensure our freedom, protection and right to basic services are being carried out. They are the leaders we have chosen to represent us. They are government, but not above the constitution, and as such are subjected to the laws of South Africa as is every citizen in her. We, the people have the power to effect change. The government are not rulers, they are public servants there to carry out the will of the people and not to be feared.

I hope this article will make some of you think. How is our government doing? How can I as a citizen of South Africa help effect change? I hope you have read this article without political bias. This article is not racially motivated, and is intended to help pull South African citizens out of their political lethargy, and start to effect real change which our children can be proud of.

“United we stand, divided we fall”

Lets make South Africa a country to be proud of, and that shines like a beacon to the world!

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