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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.


By unknown | May 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Yesterday elected representatives were sworn in as members of the various legislatures throughout the country.

Yesterday elected representatives were sworn in as members of the various legislatures throughout the country.

Talking to Sowetan in Parliament on Tuesday, ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said: "This time we're going to give people all they ask for."

Her comment could be read as an admission that previously they had not given the people what they asked for.

As voters it is important that we interrogate these commitments made by politicians. As it is a group of prominent South Africans have come together to do just that.

In their interrogation these eminent African thinkers first looked at the socio-political and economic situation South Africa finds itself in today.

Their conclusion was that South Africa today stands at a crossroads located within a global crossroads.

This is the crossroads where the world is in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

While South Africa has been cushioned by strong financial regulations and prudent fiscal and monetary policies, the ripple effect of the global economic downturn has sent tremors throughout the country's economy.

For example, in the third quarter of 2008 more than 74000 jobs were lost. Only yesterday Statistics South Africa released figures showing that 270000 jobs were lost in the first three months of this year (unions believe that Stats SA is under-reporting the country's rate of unemployment).

This group of eminent Africans - called the Dinokeng Team - found that the situation was further compounded by some home-grown inadequacies. Key among these was weak leadership in all sectors.

In their critique neither politicians, business or the labour movement - key sectors in the development of this country - was spared.

Government is found to have "failed to provide leadership in developing a common national identity; business is an unwilling partner that sulks behind government while applauding it in public; the labour movement has no sense of common good beyond its membership".

This, the Dinokeng Team argues, has hindered the country from unleashing its full potential.

"We come from a political culture of identifying who is in and who is out. The solution is to have everyone inside," says former UCT vice-chancellor Dr Mamphela Ramphele - a Dinokeng Team member.

Ramphele's argument is that through wrongful implementation of employment equity and affirmative action, South Africa has marginalised white skills needed for the country's development.

"We are not using our heritage built through the years - including during the apartheid era . In turn we employ unskilled people who do not have the capacity to run our institutions.

"The fact that in the 2007 Auditor-General's report only 21percent of our national government departments had clear audits is an indication of our inner circle mentality."

Part of the solution, the team assumes, is having South Africans accepting collective responsibility. This means having South Africans from all walks of life participating in the transformation and development of our society.

Indeed, we cannot leave it all to the politicians. As another Dinokeng Team member, Professor Vincent Maphai, suggests - we must be driven by the understanding that "there is nothing like a democratic government. We have democratic societies in which governments operate to enhance democracy".

Our responsibility is to ensure that we hold the government and politicians accountable. We can do so by reclaiming our space as part of the social forces that brought democracy to this country.

As Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane (another member of the Dinokeng Team) argues, civil society must reclaim the position it had in pre-1994 South Africa.

"After 1994 we disengaged and left everything to the democratically-elected government, forgetting that government cannot do everything. We must reclaim our space and work together with government to build a sustainable future for this country."

Yes we can. We have done it in the face of a brutal racist force which we defeated through our resilience and commitment to freedom.


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