13th Mar2017

To Grant or Not to Grant: Inside Sassa’s Grant Crisis

by admin

SASSA Card

 

17 million South Africans currently receive social grants from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Until early this year, Sassa was efficient in its provision of social grants to its beneficiaries. In order to decrease the risk of corruption, Sassa has (until now) enlisted the services of Cash Paymaster Systems (CPS) to pay out some R10 billion to the beneficiaries. It has emerged though, that Sassa’s contract with CPS has not been renewed. This means that, come 01 April, the social grants recipients will not receive their payments.

The Sassa crisis has led to the demonization of the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini. What has emerged is that the looming crisis is the result of Sassa’s reported R1 billion in irregular expenditure and financial payments. The Constitutional Court found that Sassa’s initial contract with CPA/Net1  was irregularly awarded, leading to the gross irregular expenditure during CPA/Net1’s tenure as the provider of social grants. The Constitutional Court, following its initial ruling, refuses to allow Sassa to extend its contract with CPA/Net1. Sassa needs The Constitutional Court to authorize its use of CPS as it has not found any viable alternative service providers. However, on the same day Sassa filed papers requesting for The Constitutional Court to authorize its use of CPS, Sassa drew up papers to for a notice to withdraw application.

Moreover, the South African cabinet has failed to address the social grants payment crisis. The Sassa crisis was not mentioned in the post-Cabinet statement, with Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe stating that there had not been enough time to address the matter. Sassa, itself has been plagued by internal difficulties with the current CEO, Thokozani Magwazani, being placed on “sick leave” for twelve days. His, and Bathabile Dlamini’s, notable absence from a meeting between Parliament’s committees on public accounts on 27 February resulted in Themba Godi (chairman on the committee) ending the meeting as there was no one who was able to answer questions about the grant crisis.

Seemingly, the looming crisis does not look to be averted anytime soon. Sassa has only started negotiations with CPS/Net1 on 28 February. Tensions between Dlamini and Godi were apparent at Sassa’s presentation to the social development portfolio committee on 22 February, with Dlamini dominating, leaving no room for Sassa officials to speak. The crisis will affect South Africa’s poorest, resulting in substantial socio-economic crisis. In 1994, the newly-elected South African government stated that its principle interest lay in protecting society’s vulnerable and marginalized. Additionally, the South African Constitution was primarily drafted to protect the rights of all South Africans, who include the poor. South Africa’s high levels of socio-economic inequalities have become more deeply entrenched in the socio-politico-economic order. Sassa was developed in order to address the developmental crisis experienced by South Africa’s poor. The crisis demonstrates that Sassa has failed in its responsibility to South Africa’s poor. The crisis seems to be a more tangible example of how post-apartheid South Africa’s dreams are increasingly not being realized.

24th Jul2016

Does being a Trump Entail Trump-ing the Rules on Literary Theft?

by admin

0820quotes

As we may all know, Melania Trump- wife of the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump- delivered a speech on the night of 18 July at the Republican National Convention. The controversy with this speech is the fact that it was strikingly similar (literally word-for-word in some parts) to the one, the current first lady, Michelle Obama had delivered at the Democratic Party’s National Convention in 2008.

In all fields of academia, plagiarism is regarded as academic theft and is inevitably followed by very harsh consequences. Clearly, this is not the thought process followed by Melania or any member of the Trump Campaign. It is reported that there have been no disciplinary actions taken against either Melania or anyone else involved in the speech-writing process.

Thus far, many people seem to be defending Melania and stating that her speech contains no plagiarism but commonly-used phrases. This defence can be argued to be nothing but a very weak objection. The speech in question has two paragraphs which prove to have been directly copied from Michelle’s own. The reasons as to why Melania has not yet been subject to any disciplinary action remain vague. However, according to Chicago Tribune’s Dahleen Glanton, this serves as  “…one more example of white privilege that explains why Melania Trump has been treated so delicately…”.

On the other hand, although Melania Trump has previously admitted that she wrote the speech herself, the US Weekly has reported that Meredith Mclver, who is the Trump Organisation’s in-house speech-writer, is taking the blame for the plagiarism controversy. McIver herself has stated, that “In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech.”

It seems somewhat problematic that Melania initially claimed to have written the speech herself. However, now that the world has reacted negatively to her plagiarism scandal, a supposed “ghost writer” suddenly takes the fall for it.  Is there truth in this matter or has the Trump Organisation decided to ask Mclver to take the fall in order to protect the potential first lady- in waiting?  Only those involved will know for sure. Whether it was Melania or Mclver who had plagiarised Michelle Obama’s  speech, the responsible party ought to face the consequences of their transgressions.

letter

13th Apr2015

The World We Live In

by admin

Manuel Makafane writes an inspirational piece on the current state of our world.

 

The world we live in is directly indebted to our elders. We, as young people, have nothing to do with the current state of the world. The way we behave, what we believe in and everything we know and learn owes directly to our parents’ deeds and decisions. Thus we, as children, cannot be blamed for all of the chaos and so-called ‘wrongs’ of this world. Our parents should be blamed for everything that is happening in this world.

Let us look at the issue of education in our world. According to our parents, the meaning and main purpose of education is to gain knowledge – generally speaking, knowledge about particular clans, tribes, societies, nations, and the world. Education, truly speaking, has less to do with knowledge and more with wisdom. Knowledge simply means information containing facts, the understanding of a subject theoretically or practically, and the acquiring of skills through education or experience. On the other hand, wisdom is simply knowledge applied; i.e. the quality of being wise, good judgement and the quality of having experience. Therefore, when the youth are given knowledge, they are told what to think, what they are supposed to know and what they have to understand is true. However, when given wisdom, the youth are not told what to know or what is true; but rather, how to discover their own truth. Thus, knowledge is lost and wisdom is never forgotten. Our parents have requested that schools give us knowledge, consequently ignoring the importance of wisdom in the process of learning.

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Classes in critical thinking, problem-solving and logic are considered, by many parents, to be threatening, and they want such classes out of the curriculum so as to protect their way of life. This is because children who are allowed to develop their own critical thinking processes are much more likely to abandon their parents’ moral, standards, and entire way of life. Therefore, in order to protect their cultures and lived experiences, our parents have built an education system based on the development of memories, instead of abilities and various processes of active learning. Children are taught and expected to memorize facts and fictions, rather than given the ability to discover and create their own truth.

In addition, most history books are written by people who want the youth to view the world from a particular point-of-view. History is supposed to provide an accurate and full account of what happened in the past; whereas politics is never really about what happened, but rather a subjective view about what politicians want you to believe happened. History reveals; politics justifies; history uncovers and tells all; but politics covers up. 2 As a result, politicians hate truthfully-written history, and history truthfully written does not speak so greatly of politicians. In the same way, our parents constantly tell us that what we are being taught at school and university is enough. We believe this and never question it because it is disguised as ‘higher education’. As a result, it can be said that it is because of our parents that the world is as it is today, since children have not been taught any better.

We (the children) are not the ones who are destroying the rain forests and cutting down trees to make paper and furniture. We are not the ones depleting the ozone layer. We are not the ones who are exploiting the poor in sweat shops and factories all over the world. We are not the ones who are taxing you to death, then using that money for war and weapons of mass destruction. We are not the ones ignoring the problems of the weak and downtrodden; letting hundreds of thousands of people die of starvation on a planet with enough to feed everybody. We are not the ones who promote capitalism, domination and competition everywhere in the world. We are not the ones destroying our land in search of gold, diamonds and other raw materials. We are not the ones involved in the politics of manipulation and deception. It is not us who are sexually repressed, ashamed, or embarrassed about our own bodies; thereafter passing on this shame and embarrassment onto our offspring. It is our parents who are doing all of this. Thus, everything we do as children is as a result of our parents; since we imitate their actions from the day we are born.

The only difference between the younger and older generations is that young people do whatever they want to do out in the open; whereas older people hide their behaviours. We, the children, have asked and begged our parents to stop what they are doing to our world, by demanding schools to start teaching us the basic facts of life. This includes: teaching us what it means to be honest, responsible, aware of other people’s feelings, and additionally, respect for other people’s paths. I hope our parents can hear us cry and that there will come a time in lives when our parents will help us stop all that is wrong in our world so that we can make the world a better place for both the young and the old.

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18th Aug2014

It’s not me, it’s you Mr President

by admin

AK1Ahmed Kajee discusses some of his issues with President Jacob Zuma.

Of recent, we have seen a lot of hype around President Jacob Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla. To be honest, at first I thought it was just 702 and the Democratic Allianc (DA) making a big noise victimizing our poor President. Although, after his recent responses to public protector, Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report, I fear his reputation and my respect for him has been significantly damaged. The undermining and clear disrespect of the citizens of South Africa is blatant and in fact, somewhat arrogant.

Please, do not think for a second that I do not appreciate the hard work The President has done in the pre-1994 era. I really appreciate it. The many years spent fighting apartheid with the rest of the liberation movement can and will never be overlooked. Perhaps, if it were not for those efforts I would not be able to share my opinions on the political world as freely as I am right now. Your work, Mr Zuma that was done in the Apartheid Era is much appreciated. However, that does not give you a license to use public funds, or for that matter, benefit from upgrades on your personal homestead on the basis of “security upgrades.” Furthermore, it also seems as though our beloved President’s family also benefited from these upgrades.

Questions around Nkandla arose in 2009 when it was estimated that R65 Million was to be used for upgrades to this home of the president. Moreover, our President seems to be blind to figures and moneys spent for his benefit.

It appears as though the president has avoided almost all of the suggestions made in Public Protector’s report that identified issues with the upgrades. He has however, instructed Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko to decide whether he should pay any money out of his own pocket, as suggested by the Public Protector. The irony of this is that the police minister is appointed by the President. That is like your boss commanding you to select the disciplinary action that your boss should face. This is problematic. So while I do not really like that the DA, I have to agree with them when they say that you are ‘avoiding accountability.’

Beyond the issue of Nkandla, we have the spy tapes which are soon to be in the hands of the same party, the DA. I personally wonder why the President fought so hard to keep these from being released.

Then there was also the issue that links to blurred lines around the dropping of corruption charges, which will now probably have greater controversy around the President.

Interestingly, the president has given new Deputy President,Cyril Ramaphosa, four months to sort out any of his personal interests which may lead to a conflict of interest with his current position as Deputy President of The Republic of South Africa. Somehow I feel this is ironic.

All in all I thus feel like I am losing faith in our president. His actions have led to me having trust issues with him. Furthermore, the various scandals that are rocking his presidency are turning too grey too quickly. One really would have hoped that things would have been better. I thus really do think it is time for the President to hang up his presidential gloves and let us have the leader that we deserve. South Africa needs and deserves it.

04th Aug2014

Anyone fancy a visit to the circus?

by admin

 

sm2Sibongile Malgas looks at recent issues in South African parliament.

“The EFF are in parliament to pursue a revolution, not rules”-Julius Malema

If you haven’t been bombarded by the wrath of the berets, you clearly have been living on some other planet not plagued by shades of red parliamentary drama. Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) Julius Malema and the red overalls clearly mean business, just not the type of business the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the rest of the country were expecting. It all started with the opening of parliament when the members of the EFF set the scene by painting Cape Town in a blanket of red, wearing the same attire as that of mineworkers (overalls) and domestic helpers. This was supposedly to show solidarity with workers’ strife of the past months and thereby demonstrating that their party represents the poor and working class. Not quite fitting the occasion but a statement none the less. Once in parliament, first on the agenda seemed to be attacking anything affiliated with the ANC

As much as we anticipated the war of words between these two parties and actually looked forward to the spats, I doubt any sane person can stand to say any of it is necessary. Besides keeping MP’s awake before the lunch bell sounds and adding a tad bit of comedy to the oh so dreary prime time news, it has reached a point where we shake our heads in shame and utter the infamous ‘eish’ in disbelief.

But not all blame should be shoved in the direction of the EFF. The ANC are just as guilty in transforming what used to stand for authority and power into just another show on Cartoon Network. The crux of the matter here really is that the parliamentary representatives of the ANC give way too much attention to what the EFF does or doesn’t do. Does it really matter if Honourable Mngxitama doesn’t address Cyril Ramaphosa as ‘Honourable’? To the individuals in the room, maybe it’s a life shattering insult but definitely not to the average South African looking onto these leaders to make ‘radical’ and positive changes to the country to benefit us all.

Nonetheless, as a result of some of these disagreements we have seen dramatic walk outs of parliament and so on. However, one issue led to more than a walk out. With much attention given to the uniforms EFF MMP’s wear, it was ruled that these overalls and so on are banned from the Gauteng legislature. The EFF were not happy with this and vowed to protest. They did protest and eventually stormed the Gauteng legislature to hand over a memorandum while also damaging the property. They also trashed the area around the legislature.

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Pictures taken during the protest

sm3

Pictures taken during the protest

 

This is a lot of attention given to uniform. Should person A be concerned about who wore what, when they can barely afford to put food on their table because they’ve been unemployed for years and are struggling to find the employment they seek? The same should be asked about person B who has sleepless nights worrying if they’ll ever be able to send their children to varsity to better their chances of a better standard of living.

What all political parties need to understand is that they weren’t chosen to lead to create a spectacle on television. Parliament is more than just a hang out spot for the rich and influential and cannot be degraded to such. We really are thankful to the EFF for giving us a reason to watch the parliamentary channel, really thank you, but can you tone it down just a bit.

07th May2014

The politics of being a black voter

by admin

SM2Sibongile Malgas looks at issues that emerged when she considered who to vote for in today’s elections.

I was born in August 1995, exactly sixteen months after South Africa’s first democratic election. The day of the first democratic elections is a day all South Africans should remember and cherish, for ‘we’ were finally free. Fast-forward to today, May 7th 2014. 20 years since the elections in 1994, today is our country’s fourth elections. But what’s different this year? One such difference is that those of around the 1994 period, labelled by some as ‘Mandela’s children’ or the born frees are finally eligible to vote. So what do I as an ambitious, young, black, born-free, female, university student feel about the twenty years of liberation, equality and politics in my nineteen years of existence?

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with politics. Even though I did not fully understand the history of the country I feel thankful that apartheid was abolished. I am truly thankful to the men and women who gave their lives and those who were separated from their families and unjustly jailed in the fight against apartheid. I am forever indebted to those who were then, so that I can be today. Through their efforts I have been given the opportunity to have a say in who governs our country through my vote.

It is because of the struggle that our task for the future is clear, to vote consciously and be committed to a better South Africa. This is the reason why as a first time black voter, I have decided to vote for a party that is not the ANC.

Finally coming to this decision and publicly announcing my choice has definitely not been easy. Coming from a family that has bore the brunt of apartheid, and a generation that has taken on the struggles of their forefathers; race has taken centre stage for many including myself. My biggest fear was to be labelled a ‘sell out’. Am I any less of a black person because I refuse to vote for the ANC or EFF?

If anything it has made me realise how optimistic I am for a better future with better possibilities. Possibilities that have not been fully achieved yet. This is not because there isn’t efficient policy in place or the ‘right ideas’ but rather because much of the ruling party politics seen in our country has been clouded with scandal. Max Du Preez describes this current state of affairs as something that, is ‘diminished to cheap insults, threats and self-gain’ (Seen in: A rumour of spring-South Africa after twenty years of Democracy, pg. 68).

However the point is not to dwell on what I think is wrong with the current government but rather what I see as the way forward. When coming to my decision, there were various factors I considered about the party I intend to vote for. These included track record, leadership and more. I am also completely realistic about the fact that the party I am giving my vote to also has flaws. No party is perfect. But essentially for me it all boils down to am I black first or am I South African first. To answer that, I am my countries biggest fan.

07th May2014

On our Long Walk to Freedom

by admin

South African boySimlindile Mbongwa explains how she decided who she was going to vote for in the today’s elections.

7th May 2014, Election Day. This year’s election marks the 20th year since South Africa’s first democratic general elections and my first time voting (yes I’m a born free). This year’s elections are very important as they mark a milestone for South Africa, the ruling party and its various opposition parties. South Africans (myself included) are looking to vote for a party that will be able to take them forward into the next 20 years (and beyond). As a young South African woman I think that it is important for me to vote for who I think can make South Africa a great country.

You might ask then which party I think is the right one but I will not be revealing my choice. My article definitely has clues though. In this year’s elections I’m going to be casting my vote based on which party I think has the best policies to address the problems our country is facing. But on that note let’s be honest, most of the parties in my opinion tend to all spit the same meaningless rhetoric never really saying anything worth listening to.

The ones that have a hint of a feasible vision however, are too busy fighting factionalism, corruption and are also too busy entertaining petty politics amongst one another to actually think about what is best for the people. This is what really annoys me about South African politics. But since I am South African I am always living on a hope and a prayer (I think we’ve really mastered this philosophy by the way e.g. the insane notion of a ‘Rainbow nation’ – another topic for another day).

This is our ‘long walk to freedom.’ The late Tata Madiba made this term famous and indeed it was a long walk to freedom with many obstacles along the way. Voting is therefore our duty as citizens of a democracy. People fought tirelessly so we could ALL have the right to vote and that should be reason enough. But if you need another reason, it is also our way of engaging with our democracy and taking charge of our own future. That is why it’s important for me as the youth to vote because I think that the power to effect change lies in the hands of the youth, as has happened before in South Africa.

 

And so there you have it, my reasons on who I’m voting for and my reasons why. I love my country and so therefore I would like to see everyone in this country afforded the same opportunities to live their dreams. So with that then my last words are, Vote! Do it for South Africa!

07th May2014

The Election fence

by admin

AK1Ahmed Kajee talks about the factors he considered when deciding who to vote for in today’s Elections.

I have been following the election world quite closely for this election, especially since I am a born-free and I am a first-time voter. Although, all our politicians impressively claim that they intend to further improve our Rainbow nation I do remain skeptical as to which political party actually deserves my vote.

I am not affiliated to any political party so I’m not going to go on about what’s wrong and what’s right with specific parties. But I’ll give you my take on the various issues (surrounding various parties) that came up when I considered who to vote for. The parties I looked at were the ANC, DA, EFF, AGANG and for the sake of good spirit, Sushi King Kenny Kunene’s The Patriotic Alliance.

The African National Congress

With regards to our beloved ruling party The African National Congress, I don’t feel the need to and state what is wrong with the ANC as opposition party leaders seem to be more than obsessed with the same. I’ll state my discontent later, but I feel it’s best I start with what is right with the ANC. Firstly, I am grateful to the ANC for being the fantastic freedom-fighters that they were. Along with many other individuals, the ANC has helped South Africa become the democratic country it is today.

I was not alive during apartheid, so I shall not make any comments based on ignorance about the apartheid regime or the fight for freedom. But I am nonetheless grateful that it is over.

In terms of infrastructure, we, as a country, have developed greatly with new roads, improved railways and the emergence of the richest square-mile in Africa in the form of Sandton.

Looking at international policy, our government’s stance on that Palestine/Israel situation is one that I especially find admirable. Given the past that we as a country come from, it is both sensible and commendable that we empathize with and support the Palestinians. The ANC has also openly joined forces with the Palestine Solidarity Committee and The Israeli Apartheid Awareness Group.

However, looking beyond the positive aspects of ANC, we also need to focus on the various scandals that have engulfed our ruling party. These include issues around the President’s homestead Nkandla and e-Tolls. Various other issues including corruption and nepotism are also on the list. So simply put, I’m caught between thinking of the wonderful work the ANC has done in the past and the scandals that dominate many South African’s perceptions in the present.

 

The Democratic Alliance

Looking at The Democratic Alliance, the party with leader Helen Zille has been in charge of the Western Cape since the last elections. It is clear when visiting the Mother City, Cape Town that they have done great work. Although, unfortunately when I say Cape Town I’m referring to Clifton and Camps Bay. Those areas are just beautiful but those areas are not the entire Western Cape.

Unfortunately, one cannot forget the human waste saga where disgruntled residents threw human waste at the Western Cape government buildings. This highlighted the fact that there are issues in the Western Cape, including access to sanitation.

Another issue I have is their position on the Palestine/Israel situation. While there has been some confusion about the party’s official stance of late, going by past “on the record” declarations, I think their stance is unacceptable. Given our country’s segregated and oppressive past, to not recognize and state publicly that Israel is an Apartheid state is pretty awful.

 

AGANG

Linking to the DA (for a very short time) was newly emerged political party AGANG led by Mamphela Ramphele. I think Ramphele stands for a lot of good causes and I really do think she’s done wonderful work in the past with Steve Biko.

However, how do they expect to win my vote if their start and more specifically their short alliance to the DA was so shaky? I can only assume their international relations with other countries will be much better. Other than that, I can only wish them the best of luck in the elections.

 

 

The Economic Freedom Fighters

On to one of our favorite characters in the political sphere – queue the music and roll the drums – Mr. Julius Malema. Malema earned quite the reputation as a result of his tenure as the head of ANC Youth League. But since his exit from that party he formed The Economic Freedom Fighters. This party calls for various changes including the nationalization of various industries (including mines and banks), land expropriation and more. While I think that such policy is likely to scare off foreign investors, there are certain parts of the party’s policies that are positive. These include an increased minimum wage and free education amongst other things.

However, this is not enough for me personally to vote for them in this election.

 

 

The Patriotic Alliance

Finally on my list is The Patriotic Alliance whose leaders are Gayton McKenzie and the one and only Mr. Kenny Kunene. I watched an election debate involving the EFF, ANC, DA, Patriotic Alliance and Cope. I was highly impressed by the rebuttals as well as the policies of the Patriotic Alliance and I was honestly thinking of voting for them. Unfortunately, a few weeks later I watched the Comedy Central Roast of the party’s central member Kenny Kunene. The material in that roast (even if it was comedy) was quite controversial. That made me think, do I honestly want to be voting for someone who appears as a central figure on a comedy special, which is rated 18 for language and prejudice?

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So in conclusion while I am going to vote, at this stage I still feel that there are realistically no political parties that I believe deserve my vote. There are just too many flaws, too many extreme policies and too much lip service. If the voting polls were tied and my vote was the vote that led to a victory for one party; my mind would be filled with scorpions. – Thank you Macbeth for help on that one, appreciated.

07th May2014

Rwanda vs. South Africa- 20 years on

by admin

Sandiswa Sondzaba looks at South Africa, Rwanda and apathy.

2014. This is a year that I marked off excitedly when I was a fifteen-year old caught up in the headiness of World Cup fever. 2014 was meant to be an exciting year for me. The FIFA World Cup would take place in Brazil and I had planned to go and watch a few games there. I was also going to bid farewell to my tumultuous teen years. Most importantly I was going to vote. Yes, I would finally have the power to determine my country’s future.

South Africa- the rainbow nation

South Africa- the rainbow nation

Rwandan genocide survivor

Rwandan genocide survivor

Four years on and a lot has changed since then. My student budget would not allow for me to go to Brazil and I feel incredibly heartbroken about the state of our nation’s politics. The only thing I have going for me is that I will be turning twenty but even that is not enough to make me less melancholic. I have also been thinking about the Rwandan genocide a lot lately.

Rwanda and South Africa. Both countries have significant twentieth anniversaries this year. For South Africa, we are celebrating the dawn of our second decade as a democratic state. Rwanda however is in a slightly more sombre mood as it is commemorating the twentieth year of the genocide, which gripped its country for 100 days. 100 days may not seem like a lot of time but that space of time was enough to wipe out 500,000-1,000,000 people. Most of the victims were Tutsis and a lot of them were also Hutus who tried to stop the bloodshed.

Whilst thinking about the Rwandan genocide, I have been thinking about what the worst part of the whole massacre was. I thought about all of the mothers who were killed. The children. Grandmothers. Husbands. The people who lost their entire families. However, the worst part for me was discovering that the rest of the world ignored the genocide whilst it was occurring, as they were all busy looking at us: the rainbow nation.

The Rwandan genocide was ignored. I often think of how the death toll could have been decreased if action had been taken sooner. The children that would have been saved. Theparents that would not have lost their entire families. If people had cared to do something about it, things may have been different.

But we still do it. We still ignore the plight of those who need our help. Sometimes we ignore the plight of our fellow African brothers and sisters who are oppressed on the basis of their sexualities. Most times we ignore the marginalized right on our doorsteps. We ignore the mineworkers who are asking for money so that they may be able to feed their families. We ignore the thirteen year olds who have to drop out of school in order to care for their younger brothers and sisters. We ignore the young girl who cries out as she is sexually abused. We ignore the screams of a woman as her boyfriend points a loaded gun to her head. We often condemn the government for ignoring the pleas of the marginalized across our borders. However, we are also guilty of turning our heads when our neighbours need our help.

I then realized that the Rwandan genocide not only showed the capacity for evil actions committed by a few. It also showed how we are also committing evil by being apathetic. That is why I have decided to vote today even though the state of our politics frustrates me. It is because I care and I want to be able to say that I did try to make a difference- in whichever little way I could.

 

07th May2014

Finding our struggle

by admin

TK1Tsholofelo Kwakwa looks at why she decided not to vote in today’s Elections

After watching Trevor Noah’s That’s Racist for the umpteenth time, I grasped something that in my opinion has more relevance now during this election than ever before. He said, “It’s time for a lot of young black people to find their struggle.” I understood this to mean that apartheid was someone else’s fight and now it’s time for us to move forward and stop using it as a crutch for personal incompetency.

Although I get my head bitten off a lot because of this, I decided not to partake in the 2014 South African elections. And yes, I completely understand people’s exasperation with this decision since a lot of people fought for the right to vote.

Yes, people did fight for the right to vote and ultimately – for democracy. I am using my democracy to choose not to vote simply because I do not fully agree with the values of the existing political parties. As a young black female, I have chosen to actively contribute to this country in other ways and will not dishonour the system by spoiling my vote.

Honestly though, if you cannot trust any political party to lead you, why spoil your vote instead of simply refraining from voting? It is quite clear that there is a certain political unrest in South Africa at this current moment and no one is able to take the heat. From political parties slandering each other and ad campaigns being banned, to the public’s money being used for personal interest. It is thus hard to trust existing parties with the future of this country.

It’s always one hullabaloo after another. A few weeks ago we saw an open letter from Gayton McKenzie (Patriotic Alliance President) to Julius Malema (EFF President) that stirred controversy on social media. We also constantly see reports from the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, that regularly expose what the people in power are doing to the ordinary citizens of South Africa – who, day to day, try to make an honest living.

Furthermore we see dramatic calls to vote. The African National Congress has posters around The University of Witwatersrand, which read in bright, bold yellow letters: “DO IT FOR MADIBA” and “DO IT FOR CHRIS HANI.”

Frankly, I think people have lost the sagacity of those prominent freedom fighters (and many others) and the vision that they had for this country. So while I, for one, am truly grateful for what they have done for South Africa, I’d have to say that due to what the country’s politics have become, I will be letting this Election Day miss me.

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