Madiba’s dream will come af­ter 2019

A post-ANC coali­tion gov­ern­ment will come to power in 2019 with one mis­sion: to reignite the dream of 1994 and bring Madiba’s ethics into na­tional gov­ern­ment, writes Mmusi Maimane

CityPress - - Voices - What should a post-2019 coali­tion gov­ern­ment pri­ori­tise to re­alise Madiba’s dream? Maimane is the leader of the DA

This past Tues­day we cel­e­brated Man­dela Day, and mil­lions of South Africans com­mit­ted 67 min­utes of their day to self­less work in hon­our of an ex­tra­or­di­nary man whose gen­eros­ity of spirit and un­shak­able com­mit­ment to the com­mon good of our na­tion were so pow­er­ful that the very thought of him pro­duces vis­ceral emo­tion from even the hard­est of hearts.

For our 67 min­utes, my wife Natalie and I chose to visit and as­sist Tumelo Home in Ivory Park, Johannesburg – a home that cares for men­tally hand­i­capped chil­dren. Our time there served as a stark re­minder of the deep lev­els of in­jus­tice in our so­ci­ety that re­sult in many peo­ple be­ing left be­hind. I was quickly re­minded that South Africa is still a deeply di­vided na­tion of in­sid­ers and out­siders, the cared­for and the for­got­ten. A na­tion of haves and have-nots.

It was Madiba’s dream to see this un­just sys­tem of in­sid­ers and out­siders dis­man­tled. In the soli­tude of his small cell on Robben Is­land, he dreamt of a united, rec­on­ciled and non­ra­cial South Africa be­long­ing to all who live in it. He dreamt of a coun­try where in­jus­tice would make us un­com­fort­able, a coun­try in which we would unite and fight for each other’s fu­ture – re­gard­less of the colour of our skin or the cir­cum­stances of our birth.

My visit to Tumelo Home re­minded me that this dream of Madiba’s is still alive.

I wit­nessed staff mem­bers and vol­un­teers self­lessly serv­ing in­di­vid­u­als whom so­ci­ety has for­got­ten. But it can­not be the role of the non­govern­men­tal or non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion sec­tor to sin­gle-hand­edly change the fab­ric of our so­ci­ety. It is go­ing to take all of us. Gov­ern­ment, civil so­ci­ety, busi­ness, re­li­gious bod­ies. All of us. Man­dela’s legacy can­not be re­duced to 67 min­utes of ran­dom acts of kind­ness once a year. Man­dela’s legacy speaks to a life spent fight­ing in­jus­tice and fight­ing for out­siders. The dream which Madiba birthed has not yet come to fruition. In truth, his long walk has not ended and it is for us to take up the ba­ton. What he be­gan is now ours to com­plete.

We must ask our­selves why, af­ter 23 years of democ­racy, mil­lions of South Africans are still treated as sec­ond-class cit­i­zens. We must ask our­selves why qual­ity health­care is re­served for a small hand­ful, or why more than 100 chil­dren die every month of mal­nu­tri­tion.

The status quo which pro­duces haves and havenots is be­ing per­pet­u­ated by a toxic mix of poor gov­er­nance and grand cor­rup­tion. This in­jus­tice should shake us to our core. It should make us un­com­fort­able. In fact, it must cre­ate within us a bias to­wards the poor, the dis­en­fran­chised, the job­less and the out­siders. It should birth within us all an obli­ga­tion to cre­ate a just and fair so­ci­ety. It is when we are all moved by a deep con­vic­tion to see change that change will come.

To­day, South Africa is not ful­fill­ing the dream Madiba en­vi­sioned for our na­tion in that lonely cell on Robben Is­land. It ap­pears we have lost our way, and that we have in fact be­come lead­er­less. Yet de­spite this, I re­main hope­ful for the fu­ture. Be­cause I am con­vinced there is an­other way, an­other op­tion, a post-ANC South Africa. A fu­ture in which we as South Africans are brought to­gether on the ba­sis of shared val­ues, rather than race, re­li­gion, eth­nic­ity or cul­ture. I am priv­i­leged to lead a po­lit­i­cal party that I be­lieve can be an ef­fec­tive ve­hi­cle for bring­ing the change our coun­try needs to get us back onto Madiba’s path. Un­der my lead­er­ship, his dream is the DA’s mis­sion, his stead­fast val­ues are our moral com­pass.

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Peo­ple are not naive. And I be­lieve that come 2019, South Africans are go­ing to take a hard look around, and de­cide that change is needed. A post-ANC coali­tion gov­ern­ment will come to power in 2019 with one mis­sion: to reignite the dream of 1994 and bring Madiba’s ethics into na­tional gov­ern­ment. His val­ues of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, free­dom and so­cial jus­tice will in­fuse every de­ci­sion we take.

We will work to build a grow­ing, in­clu­sive econ­omy that can bring real, ma­te­rial im­prove­ments to peo­ple’s lives.

We will fo­cus on get­ting the ba­sics right, lay­ing solid foun­da­tions for long-term suc­cess. We will pro­mote and re­spect the in­de­pen­dence of our con­sti­tu­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

We will ap­point pro­fi­cient lead­ers and hold them ac­count­able. We will cre­ate fer­tile con­di­tions for grow­ing an in­clu­sive econ­omy that can trans­form our so­ci­ety.

We will build a ca­pa­ble state and a pro­fes­sional civil ser­vice. We will de­velop the in­fra­struc­ture needed to con­nect South Africans to each other and the world. We will fix the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, and strive for ex­cel­lence.

We will build a stronger so­cial safety net for the poor and marginalised, but we will never give up on draw­ing them into the grow­ing, thriv­ing econ­omy.

We will work to heal the in­jus­tices of the past. We will pro­mote peace and hu­man rights in Africa and the world.

And above all, we will fight for the out­siders, the dis­en­fran­chised and the for­got­ten in our so­ci­ety.

I do be­lieve that, to­gether, we can con­tinue our col­lec­tive walk to true free­dom.

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