Freedom Charter a mirage, a tragic illusion of democracy

2015-06-10 06:01
Benedict Leteane Social Observer

Benedict Leteane Social Observer

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AFTER 21 years of liberation, the Freedom Charter is just a document that disillusions a country. The year 2015 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

As South Africans celebrate two decades of liberation, it is pivotal for citizens to reflect as to how far the country has responded to the Freedom Charter’s call that all inhabitants of the country must be emancipated.

This article therefore strives to highlight some of the key components of the Freedom Charter to respond to the two-fold question: To what extent is South Africa a free nation and can two decades of liberation portray the authentic objectives of the Freedom Charter?

In order to address this question, three fundamental areas shall be scrutinised, namely: education, economy and health.

All of these areas are framed within the Freedom Charter and the South African constitution which outstandingly promotes and promulgates that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.

According to the Freedom Charter, education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children. It further asserts that higher education, as well as further education and training, shall be open to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on basis of merit.

Unfortunately, after two decades of democracy free education is still an illusion. What is happening is a change of curriculum, which does not produce fruitful results. Those who can afford the best education continue to receive quality education.

Previously, this kind of segregation was racially motivated. Now people are classified according to their wealth and social status. Children from wealthier families will receive excellent schooling.

The institutional collapse experienced by the Walter Sisulu University X a previously disadvantaged tertiary institution, is an authentic reflection of the nation’s inequality.

Recently, South Africa experienced a tragic surge in Afrophobic attacks on fellow African migrants. Amongst numerous factors which could have contributed to these incidents is the high rate of unemployment particularly amongst young people.

This is in contradiction to the Freedom Charter, which lucidly stipulates how citizens of the country shall have access to opportunities, services and economic empowerment.

The country’s Department of Health’s services are totally appalling. When one looks at the mortality rate, especially from the public health sector, it is clear that there’s a lack of administration, evaluation, monitoring and highly experienced staff.

As the country acknowledges 21 years of emancipation and the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, the big question arises. Is it essential for South Africans to ask themselves whether the celebration of the Freedom Charter is only for the citizens that have the opportunity to vote?

What about the promises politicians make during election campaigns?

Currently, the main celebration visible in the country is lack of accountability, crime, corruption and lawlessness. Perhaps the Freedom Charter was not written by the current government and hence it was not adopted by them. In response to the posted questions above, South Africa is partially a liberated country.

These two decades demonstrate the disillusionment that South Africans have about the Freedom Charter, but the same disillusionment could serve as a driving force for total freedom, instead of partial emancipation.

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