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Are political parties supposed to divide communities or unite communities?

2014-05-05 13:23
Treasure Thabede Comments: 4 Article views: 1106

Are political parties supposed to divide communities or unite communities?

Written by : Mr Treasure Thabede

Community of South Africa I greet you all in the name of unity. I am writing this article because I am deeply saddened and concerned with the current and continuing divisions amongst community members in our society, caused by politics. According to Chapter 1, Section {1}{d}   of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No. 108 of 1996, it is stated undoubtedly that,  South Africa is a  country with a multi-party system of democratic government. Therefore, a community member must not be seen as a traitor nor as an enemy, if he or she joins one of the South African registered political parties, but must be seen as an ordinary South African who is exercing his/her constitutional and democratic obligation. Our first democratically elected president Dr Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela once said “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. Therefore, I am of the view that we should not let the existence of political parties be a new system that divides our societies; instead they (political parties) should unite us as a society in order to enforce harmony where we live.

Too often, community members are sabotaged or supported depending on which political party they are affiliated to. This is an egotistic, outlandish and unsubstantiated system, because we are all South Africans before we join political parties. In fact, our political affiliation should only be informed by the fact that we all have one common goal, and that is to: Improve and develop the lives of South Africans, and promote unity and diversity in our societies, even when we differ with our views, because all the socio-economic issues that are affecting us as South Africans, needs to be addressed by us as South Africans undivided. We need a culture of a unified activism as a developing country.

As a community of South Africa, and as a developing country, I do not think our energies should focus more on whether we are affiliates to political parties or not affiliates to political parties. Such energy would be a wasted one. We need to work as one society that respects one another. If you were to check in all our political parties in South Africa, you will find out that there are about 5 million South Africans who are members (card carrying members) of these political parties all combined, but there are about 17 million who vote on the day of voting, this means that there are 12 million South Africans who vote, even though they are not members of these political parties. These people are just innocent supporters who sometimes are denied opportunities at a later stage, because they are not members of political parties, yet they are the majority who vote. So if we were to choose people for better things according to their political affiliation, we would be making an enormous mistake. As the community of South Africa, we must be unified in addressing these multiple issues that are affecting our country, regardless of our political affiliation. Such issues are poverty, crime, lack of literacy and quality education, inequality in our society, low health standards, and unemployment. We need to face these issues as our only rival in the battle field.  In order to fight these issues we need to be united as a nation, and that is why all political parties must be nation builders, rather than nation dividers.

We need to trust each other as a nation in alleviating all these back-logs that are affecting our town. I am under the impression that, those who differ with unity in order to get rid of these issues mentioned above, such individuals are resistant to positive change and development. I am also pleading to our leaders and office bearers who are consigned with the duties of changing the lives of South Africans,  to lead with integrity and responsibility and to always put first the interests of the people.

As we are approaching the Election Day (07th May 2014), I am pleading to all the people of South Africa to go all out and vote, and most importantly, I am encouraging for peace and unity while you make that “X” in the ballot paper. Go out there and make your vote counts!!!

I thank you.

Writer: Treasure Thabede is a youth community member at Mkhondo. He is also a graduate from the University of Pretoria In the following fields: Degree in Public Administration, Honours Degree in Public Management, Masters Degree in Town and Regional Planning.

He is also the Founder and President of the following NGOs: Mkhondo Youth Forum (MYF), and Siyaziphakamisa: A foundation for Youth and Community Development.

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