Democracy a sham for many

In his New Year message, President Thabo Mbeki called on all South Africans to put their shoulder to the wheel and work towards building a better South Africa.

In his New Year message, President Thabo Mbeki called on all South Africans to put their shoulder to the wheel and work towards building a better South Africa.

Naturally, Mbeki's call would mean different things to different South Africans, depending on their social standing.

For the haves, it means they should be less selfish and contribute more to the betterment of the lives of their less fortunate fellow citizens.

Building a better South Africa also means that government departments must pull up their socks when it comes to service delivery.

The spotlight falls on the public funds lying unspent because the public servants who were supposed to have spent them on services lack the capacity to do so.

Building the capacity of our public service remains our biggest challenge. Until this stumbling block is removed, government projects aimed at improving the quality of life of the marginalised will not succeed.

As Azapo president Mosibudi Mangena has said, this country has done well in entrenching democracy.

The challenge is to bring the material benefits of the democracy the country has achieved to ordinary people.

The growing gap between the rich and the poor is an indication that, though some people are materially benefitting from transformation, for millions democracy remains a mirage.

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