My Vote, Our Nation, Our Future.

2014-05-06 08:11

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart and a fear for tomorrow’s elections. I am scared. I am scared at what the “x” on my ballot sheet will affect. I fear what may become of my country and I realize that my “x” on the ballot sheet isn’t about just me.

We are fast approaching Election Day on the 7th of May and I find that it is time to really sit down; assess the political parties and see what they have to offer the country and its citizens going into the future.

South Africa is enjoying 20 years of Freedom this year and we’ve come a long way in shaking off the ills of the fallen Apartheid regime. However, there are still many issues that we are still dealing with in this day and age, as a spin-off from Apartheid, that being said, we have to take the time to appreciate how times have changed but at the same time we need to be aware of the dangers of using the same mentality to vote as that of 1994. The situation on the ground has been too volatile and the economy is also not faring well with Nigeria recently overtaking us as the biggest economy in Africa.

South Africa has over the past 20 years emerged with 5 major problems, which are education, women and child abuse, corruption, unemployment and inequality. South Africa has a national unemployment rate of 25.6%; it’s highest in the past two years. That is if you add those currently unemployed, and those employed on a part time basis; as unfortunately full-time employment is available, the stats jump to 38,6%.

Only 40% of South Africans aged 20 to 34 have a job. The education system in the country is nothing to write home about. With a matric pass rate of 30% we are telling matriculants it’s fine not to know 70% of their work and then we wonder why unemployment in the country is so high. No company wants to hire someone that won’t contribute affectively to its growth.

The SA government spends the equivalent of $1225 per child on primary education, yet accomplishes less than the government of Kenya, which spends only the equivalent of $258 per child. Out of a group of 100 Grade 1 pupils, only 40 will reach Grade 12. Of those, 28 will pass matric and four will enter university. Of the four, only one will graduate. Inequality in SA has strong racial underpinnings. Significant differences between the population and income shares exist. While Africans accounted for 79.2% of the population, they captured only 44% of income and 41% to expenditure. Whites, who accounted for only 8.9% of the population, captured 40.3% of income and 40.9% of total expenditure. Reports state that South Africa’s Gini co-efficient, at around 0.70%, is amongst the highest in the world. In South Africa, someone gets raped every four minutes. Only 66196 incidents were reported to police last year and their investigations led to only 4500 convictions.

A woman is killed by her intimate partner, every 8 hours and no perpetrator is identified in 20% of the killings. The tender system was a great initiative but due to the corruption in the public sector it has turned out to be only benefiting those who have affiliations with ministers. Corruption has actually declined from what it was in 2001 but it’s still an issue that needs to be dealt.

We need to thoroughly analyze these problems, the implementations systems, and really scrutinize these political parties and their manifestos to ascertain what they’re proposing should be done about issues mentioned. As a nation we now have to move forward together and stop falling on the racial scourge that once divided us for the honour of our late former president Nelson Mandela.

We need to find a solution for the above issues for the betterment of the entire nation. We must engage minds - young and old - and get them talking to further broaden their knowledge of what political parties are offering this country.  It’s pivotal to make an informed vote.

It’s your vote, but please remember, we’re a nation, so we’re all in this together.

You can follow me on twitter: @LeratoMannya

** Thanks to my co-writer Vusani Shibure ( @Vusani_ ) for his contribution to this article.

** Visit the dedicated News24 page for all the latest updates regarding the upcoming elections.**

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