Make ev­ery day a Man­dela Day!

Vuk'uzenzele - - From Tyhoeuutnhiofnocbuusildings -

South Africa prides it­self on be­ing a coun­try with a renowned demo­cratic cul­ture of en­gage­ment and ne­go­ti­a­tion.

South Africans pride them­selves on ro­bust and healthy de­bate, crit­i­cal di­a­logue and ex­change and a his­tory of re­solv­ing seem­ingly in­tractable prob­lems by com­ing to­gether as one na­tion to­wards a com­mon goal.

This was the case at the Con­ven­tion for a Demo­cratic South Africa (Codesa) ne­go­ti­a­tions, which re­sulted in a demo­cratic break­through, the first demo­cratic elec­tions in 1994, and inau­gu­ra­tion of the for­mi­da­ble Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela.

In July we join the world in cel­e­brat­ing Man­dela Day. On Madiba’s birth­day, 18 July, South Africans en­gage in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at pro­mot­ing good deeds in the ser­vice of mankind, as taught by Madiba. We will be cel­e­brat­ing his life and also his con­tri­bu­tion to the strug­gle for lib­er­a­tion and tran­si­tion to a demo­cratic South Africa. South Africa is truly proud to have pro­duced a leader of Madiba’s cal­i­bre. We urge all our peo­ple to find some­thing good to do on the 18th of July, such as help­ing the less for­tu­nate or con­tribut­ing to mak­ing our coun­try a bet­ter place in var­i­ous ways.

What can we do?

Many peo­ple will be clean­ing schools, vis­it­ing old age homes and or­phan­ages and help­ing the home­less. Young peo­ple should con­sider clean­ing their sur­round­ings as well, re­mov­ing garbage from our streets and en­sur­ing that we live in cleaner com­mu­ni­ties of which we can be proud.

In re­mem­ber­ing Madiba let us also work harder to make our com­mu­ni­ties safer, and join the po­lice in fight­ing crime. We should also work to­gether to end the scourge of vi­o­lence against women. We re­ceive too many re­ports of bru­tal mur­ders of women in the coun­try. This must stop. We urge women to re­port abuse early enough be­fore it be­comes too late. We urge fam­ily mem­bers as well to re­port abuse to the po­lice and not treat it as a “do­mes­tic mat­ter”. No woman must be beaten or abused in any man­ner by any­one in­clud­ing in­ti­mate part­ners in­clud­ing hus­bands.

We also need to make the streets safer for women and girls. If they go to the shops to buy bread, they should be safe and not at risk of be­ing at­tacked or raped. Madiba, Wal­ter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Lil­lian Ngoyi, He­len Joseph and many oth­ers spent their lives fight­ing for a South Africa in which all would feel safe and be re­spected. Let us build safer com­mu­ni­ties in their mem­ory. Gov­ern­ment has de­clared vi­o­lence against women and against chil­dren as pri­or­ity crimes. The po­lice have been di­rected to treat th­ese cases as pri­or­i­ties and to not turn away any woman who comes to re­port abuse or at­tacks.

In the month of Au­gust, Women’s Month, we should all en­gage in cam­paigns that send a strong mes­sage that South Africa must be safe for women and chil­dren.

Seek­ing so­lu­tions to­gether

As our read­ers are aware, the coun­try has en­tered a tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion, which means a great deal of dif­fi­culty for every­one. At the time of the de­liv­ery of the na­tional Bud­get speech in Fe­bru­ary, the econ­omy was ex­pected to grow at a low 1.3 per cent in 2017. Given the cur­rent dif­fi­cul­ties, even this low growth rate may not be achieved now. The econ­omy needs to grow so that it can cre­ate much-needed jobs. We need to build con­fi­dence in the econ­omy, which we can only do by work­ing to­gether as or­di­nary South Africans, busi­ness, gov­ern­ment, labour and other sec­tors.

We will be dip­ping into th­ese col­lec­tive re­sources as a coun­try as we seek so­lu­tions to per­haps the most dif­fi­cult eco­nomic pe­riod in South Africa since 1994.

Last week, I con­vened a spe­cial meet­ing of the Eco­nomic Sec­tors, Em­ploy­ment and In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Clus­ter Min­is­ters, oth­er­wise known as the Eco­nomic Clus­ter of Min­is­ters, in Pre­to­ria to con­sider and dis­cuss the cur­rent eco­nomic chal­lenges fac­ing South Africa. We will also be meet­ing with the busi­ness com­mu­nity so that to­gether we can use our col­lec­tive wis­dom to find ways of get­ting our coun­try out of this dif­fi­culty.

We em­pha­sise that in all th­ese en­deav­ours South Africans have the ca­pac­ity to rise col­lec­tively above dif­fi­cul­ties and work to­gether to find so­lu­tions to prob­lems fac­ing the coun­try.

It is in this spirit that we will con­tinue to work with all sec­tors to seek so­lu­tions that will take our coun­try and its peo­ple out of the cur­rent eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties into a bet­ter South Africa.

We wish all South Africans a happy Madiba Month. Let us strive to make ev­ery day a Man­dela Day.

“In re­mem­ber­ing

Madiba let us also work harder to make our com­mu­ni­ties

safer”

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