It was in 1994, the first “democratic” elections, that South Africans hoped that things would get better and many were even more optimistic about the future, while others, the minority felt a sense of betrayal and alienation. This is because what used to be a minority rule was now a majority: the apartheid government which was under the ruling of the white people changed to the majority rule – predominately black – a democratic government.
South Africa is one the beautiful countries in Africa that has acquired its democracy during the 1994 elections successfully despite criticism from many concerned South Africans about its lack of “transformation”.
The South African democracy is still young and growing, and faces a number of challenges that “observers and analysts” describe as failure.In any democratic government, especially South Africa, however young – there are many challenges that need to be addressed by the ruling party and these include – HIV/AIDS, poverty, education, unemployment, crimes to mention but a few – is a dilemma.
These challenges, as mentioned before, have to some extent and as many South Africans would say: “taken us back to the way things were – under the apartheid ruling – where most resources if not all, especially economic, were in the hands of the minority, white people.It is these challenges that can only be addressed and successfully so through collective understanding and participation. And this means not only the ruling party, but the opposition parties need to come into play to achieve a democratic and transformative government where a better is for all and not for some as it has prevailed over the years and still is.
The role of the ANC and its Youth league in a “democratic” South Africa
According to the ANC web site, all members of the party have a duty to: “refrain from publishing and/or distributing any media without authorisation which purports to be the view of any organised grouping, faction or tendency within the ANC.”
Understandably, delivering a speech to a gathering or mentioning any defamatory statement in the public domain is no different from saying or writing an article to be published in the media (print or online).
Therefore, the emphasis is that even if members of a political party say anything defamatory about one of its members – this should not be allowed!As a result, what the ANC youth league president Julius Malema has been reported to have said in the media is very unlike-the-ANC-member and most importantly, a “youth” leader.
Furthermore, the ANC president Jacob Zama’s silence on Malema statements about some ANC members, especially its deputy president Thabo Mbeki is very worrying. It’s as if Zuma does approve of incriminating statements his supporters - Malema & Vavi co. have asserted to.Concerned South Africa youth or any proudly South African should be worried when leaders say: “kill for …” and not ashamed – in fact, are proud of it.
The role of any youth organization in South Africa : South African Graduate Development (SADGA), Ikusasa Lethu Youth Foundation (IYF) and Nation Youth Commission to mention but a few – is to address youth-related challenges and find constructive and innovative ways in doing so – and more importantly, lawfully.
While at the time of writing this was an ideal position which these organizations should take, Malema as president of the ruling political party’s youth league was on the other hand doing the opposite. And this ultimately gives the impression that the league itself is not doing its work and achieving the set goals and objectives – innovatively and creatively. And all because of “killing for someone” just indicate how truly you believe in their innocence.
Many of the South Africa youth live under poverty, while many of them, graduates especially, are unemployed because they are said to have wasted their – three to four years at different SA universities – pursuing careers that are deemed to be useless and unrecognized and at times, not critical to the South African economic growth. Ouch!
While many of the us are faced with these challenges which the ANCYL, you would believe and think, should address – the league is on the other hand pursuing tricks and matters that are already in the hands of legal experts – Zuma’s corruption trial – and matters that are not of the South African youth interests, but theirs (ANCYL) only.
Mbeki has always asserted that: “process of the law should take its course,” while Zuma on the other hand has always wanted a chance to appear before the court of law. And when that happens – he (Zuma) and his supporters say nasty things about the presiding judges and even question their rulings. How ridiculous!
What needs to be done: who should do what?
South Africa is a country that is really alive with possibilities. However, these can only be explored if people for which they are meant for are aware of such, or such possibilities are communicated with, and that there are resources at their disposal for which they can use or utilize and even create more opportunities especially for the coming generation.
What firstly needs to be done is this: when selecting leaders – there has to be a very progressive and consistent method or system that is used to measure what leaders are doing or achieving against set objectives, goals and even their level of performance. This will make it easier for the followers – voters, in this case – to indicate when they have had enough with their leaders’ or representatives’ lack of accountability, performance, consultation and leadership and could get rid of them.
However ideal this might be, the South African voting system (the system of electing leaders, presidents, councilors, mayors, premiers, or government representatives politically) has not delivered. And it still continues to fail as there isn’t much of accountability on the part of these representatives regarding feedback and progress on the manifesto – or mandate as politicians would prefer – to the masses and the larger civil society.
Secondly, South Africans need to stand up to their leaders and condemn maitshwaro le mekgwa (discipline and conduct) which are uncalled-for and unlike-of-leaders. TThe democracy South Africa enjoys, or at least some of them enjoy, needs to be protected. Therefore, those who protect it should not be seen as threat or anti-revolutionalists” as the ruling party insists.
Instead, they should be seen as freedom and democratic fighters – either through their writings in different disciples e.g. poetry, art, academics, play – or any other form that is recognized by the South African law and is not discriminatory or incriminating in any way but rather constructive.