Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
FOR whatever reason, new year's resolutions, more often than not, tend to remain unrealisable.
Even for more unfathomable reasons, those who make them still remain true to the practice even when they invariably forget the vows a few days after the year has started.
No one is frank enough to kick themselves for not carrying out promises to self.
But as is the wont of mere mortals, they will not forgive those who fail to make good on their promises. Such is the lot of the ruling ANC who, in their traditional January 8 statement, make an undertaking to the electorate to keep up to their New Year resolutions.
Those who follow the history of the liberation movement, which has since morphed into a respectable political party, say it was founded on this day (January 8) in 1912, "and for many years the occasion of this anniversary was marked with the release by the national executive committee of a major statement for the forthcoming year".
This year, at the GVW Stadium on Saturday, it is the turn of Kimberley in Northern Cape to host this auspicious occasion.
Last year, on the occasion of the 97th anniversary of the ANC, the party made several resolutions with which they hoped to enter into 2009.
Wits University professor Susan Booysen says in this year's statement, the party would want to keep the magic of the 2009 elections going: "They are likely to appeal to the people to give them more time as they are doing all in their power to get things right."
They want to keep the people's trust, Booysen adds.
With some they achieved splendidly while, like a smoker unable to quit, they have failed dismally in other respects.
While the party acknowledged that "many households and communities remain trapped in poverty" as a result of the high unemployment rate, their vow to "put in place measures that resulted in 500000 new jobs being created annually since 2004" will not go down well with many people still without jobs.
When push came to shove and those who voted with jobs in mind started quibbling, they were met with semantics. They were told the half-a-million jobs were not real new ones but "opportunities" for these.
It is the selfsame ANC that noted last January that "there has been a growth of casualised and outsourced jobs, which results in hundreds of workers being unable to benefit from worker rights", but as the year unfolded, failed to take the bull by its horns regarding the issue of labour brokers.
They are likely to repeat in Kimberley: "Inequality has increased and workers' share of national income has been declining. Accompanying high unemployment and inequality is the rising cost of living for many of our people."
This was said a year ago.
If the unemployed go hungry, the ANC is likely to assure them, as it did last year, that food security is linked to the agrarian and land reform programme, and it is receiving much attention.
The much-vaunted developmental state remains yet another promise the ANC will be rapped over the knuckles for. This state, the party said, shows the capacity of public servants to execute the tasks with which they have been entrusted: "This means that the right personnel should be placed in the correct positions. Where this is not the case, government should implement corrective measures, through training and redeployment, where warranted."
General secretary Gwede Mantashe would later in the year famously chide comrades for using party structures and positions in government as stepping stones to self-enrichment.
The ideal of the developmental state remains mired in controversy as "tenderpreneurs" took office with one aim in mind - to line their pockets.
Notably, health stands out as one area where the party has striven to achieve. The appointment of Aaron Motsoaledi as Health Minister, a medical doctor who quickly moved to acknowledge the link between HIV and Aids, has worked like a tonic for the ailing health system.
When they say in this year's statement that there's been improvements to making health care accessible to all, it will be modesty on their part that will be received with a loud "Aye".
Increased access to social grants is another matter that gives the ANC bragging rights.
The level of crime is still unacceptably high, but the ANC will not be accused of not having done their damndest. The "shoot to kill" order may have ruffled a few feathers, but in the main the citizenry is appreciative of the authorities' drive to root out crime.
There's no sterner face for government's fight against crime than National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.
There are targets such as "to ensure South Africa is free of illiteracy by 2014", and beliefs that "our country has become more cohesive, as we have gradually developed a common sense of nationhood". Pipe dreams?
Only this year's resolutions will guide us.
As the country is enveloped in the brouhaha around matric results, the ANC said last year that "our approach to education derives its inspiration from the Freedom Charter".
If they failed to lose weight last year, the ANC can surely not be accused of not signing up and go to the gym?