Leaders must now honour commitments
AS THIS is my last column before 2011, I would like to take the opportunity to express my wishes for the new year.
My first wish is that Africa and its leaders should commit themselves to upholding democratic principles.
This includes recognising the protocols and agreements they have committed their countries and themselves to in the name of democracy and the African Renaissance. I fervently believe that if our leaders commit themselves to these principle we can avoid the situations prevailing in Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast.
Continuing to ride roughshod over democratic principle in the name of finding "African solutions" has caused the continent's citizenry perennial misery.
I also believe it is time the people tell power-mongers that they cannot continue to foster political and economic decline in their name.
Closer to home my wish is that public hospitals like Lebowakgomo Hospital should start giving our people quality health services.
A few weeks ago my niece was admitted to the hospital, which the locals have tagged shwelateng (place to die) instead of folateng (place to get healed). When I phoned my sister-in-law to find out about her daughter, I was told she was doing well.
But the hospital had run out of medication.
This is the reality that many citizens who do not have medical aid face when they go to public hospitals. Not only are the facilities overcrowded but they also face a perennial shortage of medicines.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is a hard-working professional. I personally applauded him for the good work he is doing during his recent visit to our offices.
But he is facing the challenge of having to turn around a system that is fraught with maladministration and the personal indifference of some public officials.
My wish is that he should get the necessary political and administrative support so that he heads a ministry that provides quality health service to all South Africans regardless of race and class.
Over the Christmas weekend I travelled to my beloved Limpopo, the province known as Africa's own Garden of Eden. It earned this monicker because of the peaceful nature of its citizens and its lush environment.
On Christmas Day my wife and I took a drive to Phalaborwa from Polokwane to visit relatives. As we drove through Magoebaskloof and Tzaneen I admired the natural tapestry of mountains and lush vegetation.
But why should people living in such a fertile area be suffering from hunger and poverty? The route to Phalaborwa is dotted with hawkers selling produce from plantations largely owned by white farmers. The people who live in these areas should be provided with the means to have their own plantations so that they can graduate from being hawkers to entrepreneurs selling their own produce.
On December 26 we travelled from Phalaborwa to Lebowakgomo to visit my family. As we drove past The Chuene Resort at Ga-Chuene, a village about 30km south of Polokwane, I told my wife about my wish that the people of that village should benefit from the resort.
Someone could create mountain trails where tourists walk or ride bicycles. Villagers could set up a bed and breakfast serving authentic Pedi cuisine, and an entrepreneur could work with the resort owners to turn the village into a tourist attraction, bringing hope to the unemployed youth.