Government will fall like apartheid if it does not invest in youth: Motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The government and the ANC must invest in the youth if they do not want to fall like apartheid or the Roman empire‚ former president Kgalema Motlanthe warned on Sunday.

He was speaking at St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg at a service commemorating the life of the late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

“Far much more mightier systems‚ the system of apartheid‚ the Roman empire‚ the Mongolian empire‚ the British empire came and fell.”

Motlanthe warned the government against overindulging in celebrating the past.

“When you celebrate‚ you don’t focus on the challenges of the day. Then of course the statue is mounted. We come back to unveil the statue‚ it’s another occasion for celebration‚ so you roll out the red carpets for celebration of the past. The net effect of that is that the younger people who were not born in that past get cut off‚” Motlanthe said.

“Young people bring with them energy and radical perspectives‚ because the older we become‚ the more easier it becomes for us to adapt to circumstances … We find 101 reasons why it is all in order.”

Motlanthe said the past‚ present and future were one continuum.

“We need to draw important lessons from the past in order for us to confront the present challenges as we lay down the solid foundation for the future. Past‚ present [and] future is not separated or divided or sliced up by Chinese walls.”

The church service was to celebrate the life of Madizikela-Mandela‚ who died last Monday at the age of 81 at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after a long illness.

Motlanthe said Madizikela-Mandela was courageous and brave in the fight against apartheid.

“She had a choice. As the first black female to qualify as a medical social worker‚ she could have led a normal life. Madiba‚ her husband‚ also had a choice‚ so did Oliver Tambo‚ so did Walter Sisulu‚ but they chose to take the fight on behalf of the downtrodden and oppressed people of our country.”

Motlanthe said the apartheid government failed to “break” Madizikela-Mandela by banishing her to Brandfort in the Free State.

“We should not indulge in a finding fault‚ because who are we to judge? Who are we to judge when we were not subjected to what she was subjected to?”

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