Everyone looks to the state government to bring about the long-sought transformation that will enhance the lives of all, but, former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela says only South African citizens can bring about the needed change.
South Africa’s near economic collapse, coupled with political turmoil and a tougher standard of living, has everyone in the country earnestly searching for change. But, in a column on new24 titled Be bold, dream big, Madonsela sent a message South Africans saying only them can “help the sleeping giant that is South Africa to rise to its full potential”.
Turning things around in South Africa comes down to “active citizens” she said, pointing out that as they take personal responsibility to build the future they want, citizens should ensure that they elect competent and committed leaders to manage public power and resources.
“Being proud of South Africa does not mean ignoring its imperfections. It means realizing that we are all that we are, including our strengths and weaknesses. It is important that we not only judge ourselves by our weaknesses but also by our strengths.
Madonsela also quoted a Lebanese-American artist, poet and writer, Kahlil Gibran saying: “To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean by the frailty of its foam”.
Further in her message to South Africans, Madonsela noted that some of the country’s weaknesses which include a constitutional democracy- – built on a great constitutional promise to free the potential and improve the quality of life of all – is a tardy progress in advancing social justice, including the elimination of poverty. This, she said South Africans must take meaningful action to overcome.
Others include lack of adequate progress in eliminating poverty – including its ugly companion, hunger – which the ruling African National Congress claims to form part of its center theme
“I’m certain that if we don’t significantly push back the frontiers of poverty and want, we will soon have our hands full with dissenters who don’t see the point of working within the democratic system and its levers of accountability.
“What are we to do? How do we turn things around? It starts with active citizens that are the first to lay the building blocks for the country they want,” Madonsela said, believing that there are many South Africans who are willing to work towards these changes.
The advocate, however, warned about corruption and how the country responds to it, writing: “Corruption is one of the thieves stealing the South African dream. Will we handle the scourge of corruption decisively and consistently regardless of who is implicated this year?”
“As long as there is injustice somewhere, there can’t be sustainable peace anywhere,” she said.
In a question which appears to be aimed at her successor, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, she wrote:
“Will we investigate all that needs to be investigated and take decisive steps to recover public funds where they must be recovered? Will we ensure no business alliances control state appointments and related control of public power and resources?”
She ended her note by saying that whatever challenges South Africa faces, they are simply part of a process of redefining itself in preparation for higher ground.
“That higher ground is ours if we dream big and act decisively, emboldened by the audacity of hope while wearing our proudly South African colours with pride,” Said Thuli Madonsela.