Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
POLITICAL parties exist strictly to acquire power and manage that power. It is what political parties do with the power once they have it that must always concern citizens.
Political parties therefore design programmes that either respond merely to the desire for power for its sake or for the sake of the greater good of the citizens.
The monumental failure at local government to give a well- deserved service to our people is only one among a cacophony of compounding problems that exacerbate an already dire situation of poverty for most of our population.
The levels of unemployment and the ever widening gap between rich and poor in our country would in other matured democracies, without doubt, warrant a change of government immediately.
Our people have developed a sense of exceptional tolerance. A place like Diepsloot is a symbol of the debilitating poverty of our people and is a constant reminder of how our development programmes are yet to make an impact on the majority of our citizens.
Like Second Creek in the Eastern Cape citizens eat out of rubbish bins for survival.
When you interact daily with people whose hopes have been dashed in this way and for whom change is a distant reality, you will realise that the need for an alternative voice for these voiceless downtrodden is no longer a luxury of liberalism but a fundamental necessity for the very survival of our nation and its people.
The target set by the Millennium Development Goals to half poverty by 2014 is unlikely to be met by our country given the global economic climate. Add to this is our lackluster manner which we are approaching the fight against poverty and joblessness.
Our short-term approach to job creation where we believe our own folly that job opportunities are real and "decent" leaves our communities reeling in hopelessness. When a big figure of 500000 jobs is quoted in Parliament our people view these with cynicism as they know such promises have been made before to no avail.
What needs to be done? It is clear that there is a need to balance short-term with sustainable long-term interventions. Those interventions must be based on facilitating access to opportunities, intensified and urgent skills development programmes - all of which can engender a new sense of self-reliance other than a handout approach to the resolution of poverty.
It cannot be right to celebrate that 12million people are now reliant on social grants. Our aim must be to empower the majority of those citizens to be able to fend for themselves with their dignity in tact.
Instead of a serious debate on this question what we find is an attempt to paint those that say this as being antisocial grants. That will not move our country forward.
A debate about how we lift our people through cooperatives could be in the basket of the needed solutions. Government has to entice investment to revive industries akin to those that used to exist in Babelegi and Ekudustria in the olden days.
We need to set up a crack national team linked to the DTI and Treasury to crunch the numbers of people we need to lift above the breadline and the focus of these initiatives must be unflinching in their focus to rescue that category of the poor from needless of hunger. This is where a focus on food security must be prioritised.
When we use Public Works as a key point in the programme to reverse poverty, we must focus on the quality of jobs being created. Not all unemployed people want to go build a road to have a decent job. Greater lateral thinking is required on government to go beyond "Public Works".
Cope's agenda is to give our people hope for them to go beyond survival. Investment in education is one powerful instrument of restoring such hope so that its beneficiaries can become part of the solution to lift themselves out of poverty.
A diligent land redistribution programme that places success of arable land in the hands of communities but also brings the state's resources to bear in support can go a long way in ensuring that by 2014 no family goes to bed hungry.
Finally, a culture where communities are involved meaningfully in developing and managing these solutions will go a long way guaranteeing the success of such initiatives.