DA has long called on par­ents to act re­spon­si­bly for SA

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

JOHN God­siff cor­rectly points to lack of parental re­spon­si­bil­ity as the cause of so­cial prob­lems but disin­gen­u­ously avers that the DA has ig­nored this to fo­cus solely on ad­dress­ing the prob­lem as one of ed­u­ca­tion.

If John had taken the time to re­visit Premier He­len Zille’s open­ing ad­dress to the Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­ture in May, he would find con­cur­rence.

“We must not al­low the con­sti­tu­tional im­per­a­tive of in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity to lapse by de­fault. We will em­pha­sise, in par­tic­u­lar, the re­spon­si­bil­ity of par­ents. Parental – and es­pe­cially pa­ter­nal – re­spon­si­bil­ity must be­come in­grained in our cul­ture.

“Un­less it does, our de­vel­op­ment as a so­ci­ety will re­main a pipe-dream.

“This will be the un­der­ly­ing goal of our so­cial de­vel­op­ment strate­gies and projects.”

I have per­son­ally heard MECs The­uns Botha (Health) and Ivan Meyer (So­cial Ser­vices) warn of the dan­gers of teenage preg­nancy, ma­ter­nal ne­glect and the lack of re­spon­si­bil­ity shown by fathers, as lamented by John, at pub­lic meet­ings in Bel­lville South and At­lantis.

DA shadow spokesper­son for Women, Youth, Chil­dren & Peo­ple with Dis­abil­i­ties, Denise Robin­son, drew at­ten­tion to th­ese perils at a Women’s Day lunch in Kens­ing­ton last year.

Some of the audiences felt that a pos­i­tive mes­sage would have been more ap­pro­pri­ate. Therein lies the prob­lem.

The re­sponse to this ap­peal for in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity is to de­cry the per­ceived pon­tif­i­cat­ing and ar­ro­gance shown to adults. A clas­sic case of shoot­ing the mes­sen­ger.

On a visit to a Khayelit­sha Ma­tric class last Oc­to­ber, MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion, Don­ald Grant dis­cov­ered only 19 of the 226 pupils present. He blamed par­ents and not the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

The DA is cer­tainly not “do­ing noth­ing” but un­til par­ents ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for them­selves and their off­spring, no gov­ern­ment, whether at pro­vin­cial, na­tional or in­ter­na­tional level, can cor­rect “the root cause of se­ri­ous so­cial prob­lems”.

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