Save the rainbow nation, Chikane pleads

2011-10-15 08:03

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Cape Town - Former director general in the presidency Frank Chikane urged black and white South Africans on Friday to "save the rainbow nation" from corrupt leaders.

Delivering the annual Desmond Tutu peace lecture in Cape Town, he said South Africa's leadership had "corrupted and silenced" everyone.

"I would like to call on all South Africans... This is a moment of truth, of decision-making.

"Many of our brothers and sisters made enormous sacrifices and I feel like crying about it. People have died for our freedom. We can't let it be corrupted. We need to save it."

Chikane, who was the target of an assassination attempt by the apartheid government in 1989, called for a new approach to tackle the political and economic crisis South Africa faced.

"We need a mass participation model that allows all white South Africans, black and white, to participate in this project," he said to loud applause.

"We must give notice to corrupt and unethical leaders that their time has come to end. They have corrupted everyone and silenced everyone."

Chikane said while he was heading the presidency, he would be approached by international businesses to "facilitate" tenders.

"An international company once came to me and said we want X and we want to meet the president. We want to say to the president that if we get X we give the party Y.

"I said thanks very much for information, but do you know there is no relationship between X and Y.

"For two years they tried hard and when they realised they could not make progress with me, they found other people to talk to."

Chikane said there was rising dissatisfaction among young black South Africans feeling excluded from the economy. This was why the youth was becoming radical and supporting ideas such as nationalisation of the mines.

"It makes lots of sense to them because there are no alternatives that are given to them. I would like to say to you don't blame [ANC Youth League president Julius] Malema. Don't blame the youth. We must blame ourselves."

The country had failed the youth, Chikane said.

Many young black people had taken the measurement of success of the new South Africa to mean "the standard of living of whites".

Whites meanwhile felt "aggrieved" because they felt that former President Nelson Mandela had delivered peace, but now they felt as though they were victims. The need to deliver the needs of young black people through projects such as empowerment and affirmative action had become a pain to whites.

Chikane, who was given a standing ovation by his audience at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said the rainbow nation of which Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu spoke was beginning to unravel.

"Generally speaking this miracle, this rainbow nation is an example of something extraordinary, but it is beginning to unravel."

Whites and blacks going in different directions was a formula for disaster, he said.

Chikane said the country had to retrace its steps, learn from the experience of the last 17 years and develop a lasting solution.

"It can't be the project of blacks alone. Whites can't exit this project. Whites must be part of it. If we walk together we will be able to solve the problem."

Read more on:    ancyl  |  frank chikane  |  nelson mandela  |  julius malema  |  corruption

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