‘SA has lost its values’

2013-11-18 00:00

THE tough lady of ANC politics, Dr Frene Ginwala, choked back tears as she questioned why children were being killed, and why there was rape, violence and corruption in the country.

Ginwala, struggle stalwart and the former speaker in the National Assembly, was delivering the Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday.

In a heartfelt address, she expressed her bewilderment at the loss of values in South African society and what leaders like Chief Albert Luthuli stood for.

Ginwala said she was often ashamed at government’s failure to reduce poverty when she saw the conditions under which people lived.

“None of us appreciate the tremendous damage the apartheid system has left on our country’s legacy. Still I think we should have done better,” Ginwala said

She called on those who worked in government to look inwards, saying, “you must want to deserve to be elected”.

She went on to ask why people were crying, why people have to throw stones and burn down buildings to get attention, and why no one was listening.

A former chancellor of UKZN, Ginwala called on the university community to also engage in dialogue on the ills in South African society. “If we don’t put things right now a lot of sacrifices would have been in vain.”

She said there was hope. “At Mangaung, the ANC decided to establish an integrity committee to deal with such issues as tenderpreneurs; how did that word creep into our vocabulary? The committee is also looking at re-introducing the values of the liberation struggle. That integrity committee is working and I hope you will see the results soon,” Ginwala added.

She went on to say that something that had gone largely unnoticed was the blacklist National Treasury had published of people who were not allowed to be given government work. “There is a mechanism; it is not going to solve the problem, but at least it is addressing it,” she said

On rape and violence in South African society, Ginwala said she did not have the answers. “But we must look at who we are and find the answers and put things right in our society. We have freedom, but freedom to do what?” she asked.

The struggle veteran, who spent 31 years in exile, said if this was not done, the sacrifices that people made, both within the country and internationally, for a democratic, non-racial South Africa would have been in vain.

“I call upon the Luthuli family and all South Africans, let us do something to re-introduce the values of our freedom struggle. If we want to do honour to our leaders, that is what we have to do,” Ginwala said.

The theme of the seventh Chief Albert Luthuli Address was: “Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare today”.

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