Why are we putting all the pressure on young people?: iLIVE
I was happy to read on your website that Barbara Hogan had criticised the education department and called on the youth to protest - to ‘start holding government accountable’. However, when I also read that she suggests ‘students need to find much more innovative ways of organising’ I disagreed somewhat. I have no problem with innovation, but why are we putting all the pressure on young people?
Must they protest for their education, then become entrepreneurs and create their own jobs? Self-reliance is good, but are we not going a bit far? Should the rest of us not take on some of the burden of ensuring quality education and improving job prospects? You may think that these responsibilities rest with government, but in a democracy, government rests with all of us.
The fact that government is failing in education, and in so many other areas, reflects the weakness of our democracy. Our democracy is weak because it does not instill discipline in our leaders. In a strong democracy, leaders are concerned about delivery, because they fear for their jobs as they are public servants and they recognize that the people are their bosses. In our democracy the ANC has no fear of losing the next election. As a result, ANC leaders are not primarily concerned with delivery. Rather they are concerned with retaining their position as leaders. This may involve government tenders to powerful supporters, or maybe a top job for a key party person. Certainly it does not appear to involve delivering text books.
Why does the ANC not fear losing the next election? Because it trusts that we will continue to focus on what drives us apart, rather than on what brings us together. What’s more, the DA helps them to do this – not deliberately, but they help none the less. The DA, for all its efforts, still comes across as a white party. Black members are then seen as crossing to the other side. Moreover, the DA has positioned itself as anti-ANC, when what is needed is something that is pro-South Africa. Surely we have enough negative things already, is it not time for something positive?
I believe that we do not need ‘innovative’ student protests, what we need is simply a new political party: A party born of the new South Africa, with a new vision to match. A party that can bring people together and instill fear of electoral defeat in the ANC. I don’t think that it will even be necessary that such a new party win. Fear of defeat will be enough to ensure that the many good and committed people within the ranks of the ANC rise to the top and ensure service delivery. Right now they are struggling to have their voices heard because the party appears to be more concerned with power struggles and self-enrichment. When the party fears losing control, it will look to them.
When I hear people I respect, like Barbara Hogan, Jonathan Jansen and Mamphela Ramphele talk about one problem or the next, I continually wonder why they are not talking about a new party. It is the only thing which will make this hard won democracy of ours work. We will not fix our problems with protests about each issue in isolation. We have to come together, work together, find a shared vision and make it work.