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[Opinion] I am disturbed by the ANC’s failure to provide leadership

December 26, 2013

December is great time for reflection. The country is not less than 6 months away from national elections, and the combination of voting and reflection is an unquestionable temptation.

Since 2010, I made a conscience commitment to dedicated 5 years of my life in service of my people, with the belief that economic empowerment and access to the economic needed to change. Four years later, I have learnt many challenging realities. The best way to illustrate this is by telling parables, imagine for a moment:

A young, black family of 4 living in the poverty and squalor in one of the over 2000 densely populated informal settlements dotted around South Africa. A man and his wife sharing a small space with their children with very limited privacy from their children, and living “on top” of their neighbours.

Chances are that they have limited access to health, they children are part of an under resourced and poor management education system and face a bleak future of limited job opportunities.

If both husband and wife work, then its possible that one of them is earns far below a living wage and the little bit of savings the couple is able to string together goes into giving their children a better life and supporting members of their extended family.

In most cases both husband, wife and kids make use of overcrowded partially subsidized public transport system of buses and trains, or even the unregulated, mini-bus taxis.

A general lack of sufficient public service provision, ensures that the threat of violence, hygiene disease and risk of fire is consistently at the back of their minds, as these communities suffer from a high prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse (which leads unwarranted violence and crime), are typically rat and faeces infested (which can lead to hygiene related illness) and a build from highly flammable building material (thus the risk of fire).

If one of the children is old enough to work a piecemeal job, then the face the constant threat of petty crime and pick pocketing, in some instances a threat of being murder for a cellphone or even a cigarette. If its a young girl, rape is also a daily reality.

In many (a great majority) of these communities, kids under 5 don’t have playgrounds or early childhood facilities to encourage development and many of these young children will be found playing on the streets or alleyways.

This combination of factors point to a reality that paints a bleak picture of a government that has not provided leadership on a number of areas, namely education, economic enabling infrastructure, human settlement and urban planning that developed socially viable communities, and sufficient law enforcement and social education.

Increasingly, the youth of South Africa shows an inability to problem solve, which makes learning a challenge and can lead to a cycle of poverty resulting from being under educated and being unemployable.

Throughout the past 2 decades of democracy, South Africa has not seen below 20% unemployment, and in today technology driven society, job opportunities for unskilled people are lessening, this being the reality for majority of township educated children.


From → Opinion

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