2017, here we come

CityPress - - Voices -

As we look for­ward to the un­known in the new year, we can only hope that we con­tinue with what we did well this year. The vig­i­lance and ro­bust­ness of MPs in ex­e­cut­ing their pri­mary func­tion of hold­ing the ex­ec­u­tive to ac­count, as ex­em­pli­fied by the ad hoc com­mit­tee on the SABC, will be a good carry-over to next year.

The courage and en­ergy of civil so­ci­ety ac­tivism that rat­tled the gov­ern­ing party and were felt even at the Union Build­ings need to be con­sol­i­dated fur­ther. As the say­ing goes, power is not given, it is taken. It is only by con­tin­u­ally ag­i­tat­ing for change that we will ar­rive at the South Africa we want.

The same mes­sage must be di­rected at the thou­sands of ANC mem­bers who will have a big say in who might be­come our next pres­i­dent in 2019. The party will be choos­ing a new lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing a new pres­i­dent, in 12 months’ time. They must think care­fully about their choices. Do they re­ally want to sub­ject us to the trauma and de­pres­sion we have been through since 2007?

It is not worth re­peat­ing here that the man they dubbed a “man of the peo­ple” turned out to be the man as­so­ci­ated with cor­rup­tion and dis­as­ter.

Part of the prob­lem was how ANC mem­bers chose the lead­ers, re­ly­ing on pre­drawn lists known as slates. This meant that many good lead­ers were ex­cluded be­cause their names did not fea­ture on a par­tic­u­lar list. We hope that they will re­alise that they are not choos­ing only their leader, but the face of the coun­try.

Sim­i­larly, they should be think­ing of what the coun­try needs given the per­va­sive in­equal­ity, un­em­ploy­ment and large lev­els of poverty. We hope that as they fi­nalise their pol­icy po­si­tions, job cre­ation will be up­per­most in their minds, and that they will re­sist the temp­ta­tion to sub­sti­tute sound poli­cies with slo­gans. South Africa is still stuck with Zuma for the next two years.

The least the ANC can do is to pro­vide hope that it has seen the er­ror of its ways by mak­ing an in­spired choice in lead­er­ship.

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