Leaders must hear people

"A GOVERNMENT of the people by the people and for the people."

This is what the ANC and its alliance partners promised to the millions of voters when they came into power in 1994.

Winston Churchill said, a democracy is a preferable form of government to the many alternative forms throughout history.

In other words, all who are affected by a decision should have the chance to take part in making or debating that decision, either directly or through their chosen representatives.

When Cosatu called for lifestyle audits for all public representatives - which includes comrade Julius Malema, who was elected to the ANCYL leadership by the majority of the youth "whom he claims to be representing" - people complained that there was a political agenda against him.

Malema is a public figure just like other office bearers who are subjected to remarks and scrutiny by the media.

The basic role of democracy is the ability of the populace to participate effectively in the determination of their lives, for themselves directly or through their elected representatives.

Malema and all other political leaders, who occupy political office to represent the majority of the people under the umbrella of the ANC or any other political party, should know what democracy entails.

A democracy, more than any other system, allows for the voice of the people to be heard. The people of this country are at liberty to say whatever they want to say and political leaders and political office bearers should know and understand this.

A democracy has never gone to war against another democracy. Democracies do not abuse human rights and generally allow for basic freedoms such as that of speech, the press and other fundamental rights.

Lesetja Legodi, Johannesburg