Sanco should revisit role as community protector

2015-10-15 06:00

It is well-known that South African civil society played a crucial role in the struggle against apartheid in the period leading up to the democratic transition of the early 1990s.

This process culminated in the 1994 elections which brought the ANC to power.

The South African National Civic Organization (SANCO), which was founded on the basic needs, aspirations and expectations of the masses of the people, aligned itself with all the democratic forces in South Africa.

Post 1999, former collaborators changed their tactics but not their minds.

They retreated and went underground, working to undermine the gains of our freedom by secretly working to maintain the apartheid social and economic structure.

Sanco is now a shadow of itself. As an organisation conceived to be the voice of communities beyond political divide, the current conditions in our country compels us to revive Sanco.

The crucial question is whether Sanco should maintain political neutrality. Whether Sanco remains a non-compromising voice which unites the aspirations of the people behind a community development.

Our communities are engulfed by crime. Our mothers, sisters and children are abused and raped robbed by perpetrators who known to them, either being their spouses, brothers or sons.

Sometimes when these are investigated, they wrongdoers cannot be convicted, due to lack of evidence, either vbecause the victims are afraid to testify against them, or fear the loss of economic security.

Often they depend on the perpetrators who are breadwinners in their homes for survival.

Every time this happens., we all cry foul and feel helpless.

Yet communities are supposed to be the voice of security for their members. We should be protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.

Criminals live in the communities, in our homes, our neighborhoods, and are mostly known to us.

Sometimes we hide them from police. We are the ones who buy stolen goods. These are the issues that Sanco should be addressing and speaking and organising against to give power to our communities.

Sanco should be the one organising and speaking about persistent apartheid realities in Black communities.

To speak when economic inequalities have become more glaring than during apartheid.

When crime becomes endemic, thus driving the paralyzing fear of criminals in our communities, Sanco needs to gain community trust as its protector.

It needs to be vigilant, apolitical and basically assist the municipalities by becoming an informal wing of oversight–making sure that councilors fulfill their official mandate.

It is Sanco that should be facilitating community meetings with the community and councilors where none are taking place. They should be engaging with municipality budgets, challenging service delivery shortcoming and all.

But as long as Sanco remains in the sidelines and is not organizing effectively, it shall fail in its mandate.

It will not be a proper vehicle for the total emancipation of our people, because we know from our own experience that the 1994 breakthrough did not mean that we have arrived at the South Africa envisioned by the Freedom Charter.

Sanco has been characterized by violence, lack of tolerance, whilst some complain about the fact that there have been parallel structures of Sanco in the same community.

Hence it has not been able to take challenges facing our community forward. Respective communities have lost faith in Sanco as a progressive voice of the society.

We are calling community members, religious leaders, youth, and professionals across all sectors of society to embark on this knew journey with us of rebuilding Sanco in Western Cape as progressive force of society which is able to respond to challenges facing our society.

We have a difficult task of building this giant organisation whose contribution to our struggle for our liberation is indisputable, to unify and unite all, more importantly, to focus on the work ahead

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