Mangaung: Position vs Sound Governance

2012-12-12 05:50

CONGRATULATIONS to the African National Congress (ANC) on reaching the historic milestone of 100 years. This is a most noteworthy high point.

The ANC has come a long way from its modest beginnings in Bloemfontein, mainly as a liberation organisation fighting against the repressive rule of the National Party, to the elected government of the day. In this regard, the former leaders and members of the ANC need to be commended and admired for securing the freedoms that we enjoy so much today.

Every conscience-driven person, and especially the ANC, needs to pay tribute to South Africans who died while in police incarceration because of their resistance to apartheid: individuals like Steve Biko, Hoosen Haffejee, Imam Haron and Neil Aggett, just to name a few.

The stories and memories of our struggle for equality, justice and to live a life of dignity must be correctly documented for our future generations to read and take lessons from.

I hope and pray that the current ANC leadership will continue the good fight and complete the struggle to improve the quality of people’s lives. For this to materialise, leaders need to put aside their petty differences and self-enriching and self-seeking desires and work towards the common and greater good.

The ANC’s National Elective Conference is of national and international importance. The minds of every conscience driven South African will be on the conference in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) as ANC Members do some self-reflection and introspection in order to shape the party’s policies and chalk the country’s way forward for the next five years.

Elections have become a means through which people choose governments, representatives and office bearers in the contemporary world. The elected leader should not be motivated by egocentric desires and individual opportunism. Leadership is about sound governance, service delivery and the leader is responsible for the wellbeing and condition of the masses.

It has been over 17 years since the first democratically elected government came into power and the free and new South Africa has a lot to be proud of. Without a doubt, the ANC led government should be commended on a number of positive reforms over the past years.

However, I believe that besides electing its leadership the ANC must also focus on bringing in fresh ideas on how to alleviate the suffering of the working class, unemployed and the poverty stricken people.

The ANC led government needs to increase its efforts in eradicating some of South Africa’s most crucial issues and challenges; lack of service delivery, health care, education, job creation, corruption, crime, unemployment, poverty, teen pregnancy, youth opportunities and entrepreneurship and creating and nurturing a leadership bank.

The National Elective Conference should not be just about whether President Jacoub Zuma will win or lose, it should also be about tackling the growing inequalities and imbalances between the haves and have-nots, the debilitating diseases that stare us in the face and granting an equal opportunity to all who live in South Africa.

According to a report by Oxfam, South Africa must bring inequality under control if it is to prevent poverty increasing. Unless inequality is made a major focus of public policy, there could be serious consequences for South Africa.

Increased dairy, meat, and fruit, vegetable, maize, wheat and cooking oil prices are pushing thousands of families, low-income earners and welfare beneficiaries into unacceptable poverty. A very high percentage of the beneficiaries of social grants are pensioners and children. Social grants are the main source of income of more than a quarter of all African households. According to a survey, the youth in South Africa think that 45% of teenagers fall pregnant to get government grants. (News24, December, 11).

Taking different reports and projections into consideration and the high cost of transport, food, electricity and other basic necessities, something urgent has to be done; otherwise poverty and unemployment will further increase social grants beneficiaries, crime, immigration and other negative factors.

To quote Paul Mashatile, chairman of the ANC’s social transformation commission, “the party needed to ensure people did not get too dependent on social grants and it was vital that a long-term solution to unemployment be found”.

The people on the ground are grossly hurting and haemorrhaging. And some of our politicians are opening more blood vessels so that our blood can drain out faster. Prices are so outrageous on food and other essential items, that I cannot understand how the government expects people to survive.

Access to food, essential services and other basic necessities are an indispensable human right. And the government needs to realise that basic provisions and affordable services must be accessible to all and especially to the low-income families and welfare beneficiaries who are most affected by the rising cost of living.

I hope the forthcoming ANC elective conference will be guided by this and other articles, letters, analyses and comments that have been written over the past few weeks.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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