New leaders must eradicate poverty

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Kevin Sutherland

As we prepare for metro and municipal elections on November 1, the most pivotal issue that will direct the fate of our country will be a situation of abject poverty in our land. About 10% of South Africans live in opulence, while 35% are ranked as middle class and more than 50% live in abject poverty.

The biggest ticking time bomb we have is massive poverty involving over 50m people. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction that could set this country ablaze until and unless it is eliminated. It was poverty that served as a catalyst during the chaos in July that came so close to decimating the entire country.

The major cause of all the unrest in our rainbow nation is endemic poverty. Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.

As we seek to strengthen the fabric of our fragile and divided society, there needs to be a concentrated focus on the root causes of instability, conflict and confrontation everywhere. The danger signals are clear. The co-existence of a world of wealth and prosperity and a world of poverty and misery is too profound a contradiction to be ignored. It lies at the heart of an emerging crisis.

Whatever cloud of uncertainty may hang over the future, we must not fail to lay the foundation of a more stable and equitable world order which fosters greater hope and wider opportunities for mankind. Unless poverty is eradicated by the next metro leaders, violent upheavals will become a daily occurrence, a hungry, homeless person knows no fear.

Farouk Araie, Actonville, Benoni

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.