Democracy is fragile, says Frank Chikane

2013-08-15 16:44

The corruption of high-ranking officials proves that democracy is not immune from attack, author Frank Chikane has said.

“(In the past), there was a principle and we would refuse money meant to control you or influence you. And we were able to do that,” he told the Cape Town Press Club today.

“Today, you produce money, and people, well, become different human beings. And I think we never actually prepared ourselves for that.”

Chikane, who was director-general in the presidency from 1999 to 2009, said comrades during apartheid were seen as “angels” rather than “demons”.

“We made a fundamental mistake that we thought the angels will remain angels when they get to government,” he said.

“One day I’m going to write a book about the fragility of democracy because I’ve found out how vulnerable democracy can be and how you can manipulate systems to produce certain outcomes.”

He said that without vigilance, the country was destined for a future where syndicates decided who was prosecuted and who was free from reproach.

Citizens should move away from becoming a lamenting generation which sat back and did nothing, and towards a people who thought of solutions and implemented them.

He cautioned those in power to move away from self-interest.

“The only way to ensure peace, stability and prosperity for all in the world ... is the pursuit of the common good of humanity. If it’s common good you won’t fight about it. If it’s about self-interest, you will fight about it.”

Chikane clarified that he did not believe the general membership of the ANC was corrupt.

“By definition, corruption benefits the few,” he said.

Chikane has published two books – Eight Days in September and The Things that Could Not be Said From A(ids) to Z(imbabwe).

The first details the removal of Thabo Mbeki as president, while the latest gives his views on issues such as international diplomacy, HIV and Aids, and the Zimbabwe political facilitation process.

Chikane was awarded the Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award yesterday evening for his latest book.

He denied claims that he was not a disciplined ANC member.

“Nobody has come to me and said you are wrong (about what you write),” he said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.