Year of hope for country
LAST YEAR was challenging for South Africa – politically, economically and socially. The new year ought to bring with it better prospects for the country as it seeks to turn the corner from an economic slump that stunted growth, wrecked job creation and left many people despondent and hopeless.
It’s in all of our hands now. We can do it if we work together, set aside our political differences and work towards building a better future for all our people.
Economists have already warned us to prepare for a rough year. While we heed the warning, we also hope it will not be as tough as the economists predict, and the country can emerge from the economic slump and become a shining example for the African continent.
In his message for the new year, President Jacob Zuma emphasised that the economy will be one of the key areas of focus for his government this year.
We are encouraged to know that economic transformation and nation building will be at the centre of the government’s agenda, and hope that this is not just talk, but a sustained programme of action that will see real change and all of our people getting a slice of the economic pie.
The time for talk is over. We must bite the bullet and shake the ugly foundation of apartheid economic policies that, more than two decades later, have relegated the majority to the margins of the economy.
South Africa ought to move forward and become that nation and country we promised the world we would be in 1994.
Citizens, and not the elite, must lead the charge to transform the country and the economy so that South Africans of all races can benefit from the wealth.
The era of the politically connected and the minority benefiting while the majority eat the crumbs should end.
That battle to end inequality must begin this year.
Politically, we also hope for better leadership. We hope that the results of last year’s local government elections, which ushered in a new era in the governance of our metros, including Tshwane and Joburg, have sent a strong message to the elite – that the people still hold power and that politicians serve at the pleasure of the electorate.
Governing through coalitions must be painful but we hope that the marriages of convenience between political parties will benefit the majority of our people. That’s what democracy should be about.
But even the opposition must know that the people won’t tolerate corruption, cronyism and bad governance. The beneficiaries of these coalitions should be the electorate, who must receive world-class services and hold political leadership to account.
This year, the country must also deal with the emergence of racism and intolerance in our society. Racists of all shapes and sizes came out of their shells last year, with several racial incidents on social media and in some restaurants and other establishments. We must never allow such elements to take our country back to the ugly past.
We wish all our readers a happy new year.