Freedom Charter as importantas ever before

2015-07-14 06:01

IT was collated from hundreds of demands written on scraps of paper, or put together by a couple of communist fellow travellers. Whatever you believe, this week sees the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

Much of it is now redundant after the entrenchment of civil rights in the Constitution. And the nationalisation of banks, mines and factories would be disastrous for a country whose public service often appears capable of running little more than a spaza shop.

But the broad ambitions of the Freedom Charter are as important as ever. Its best-known phrase declares that South Africa “belongs to all who live in it, black and white”, a belief against which all national life should be measured.

It condemns race discrimination and affirms equal rights, challenging those mindlessly chanting for transformation. Its emphasis on housing and education is a clear signal to a government that has lost its way over service delivery.

The charter is basically a moral document that stands as an indictment of what South Africa has become.

As the ANC deserts the tenets of liberal democracy and moves towards the culture of its authoritarian allies in China and Russia, the charter is a place to look for inspiration for national renewal and the just society the liberation dividend has failed to deliver.


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