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When leaders don't lead it's up to the citizenry to act

The Times Editorial | 2012-08-06 00:40:35.0

We're in trouble and even our friends across the world are beginning to see the danger signs. Those we have elected to lead us to a better future know it too, and they cannot bury their heads in the sand and hope that things will fix themselves.

Our economy is in decline, corruption is rampant and crime continues to rob us of the safety to which we are all entitled.

Yesterday, one of our overseas friends, Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, shared her thoughts about our country and where we are headed under the leadership of the ANC.

Delivering the 10th annual Nelson Mandela lecture at the Cape Town City Hall, Robinson said that, though much had been achieved since the dawn of our democracy in 1994, dark clouds now loom on the horizon.

In particular, Robinson slammed the ANC-led government for its Protection of State Information Bill and warned that its enactment would give rise to even more corruption. It was a bill, she said, that would erode both freedom and the ANC's reputation .

She said that if a governing party were to "enact a law that cloaks the working of state actors, that interferes with press freedom to investigate corruption, that stifles efforts by whistle-blowers to expose corruption, you are sure to increase corruption".

She said "secrecy is the enemy of truth" and South Africa should stay clear of such an act.

The time has come for South Africa to have a serious conversation about achieving a better tomorrow. We cannot continue on this path and just hope for the best.

We, the citizenry, cannot just keep quiet and not take to the streets when, for example, the education of our children is compromised.

The continuing looting of state resources and the under-performing of our municipalities should jolt us into action.

Our fate should not be left in the hands of ANC conference delegates.

South Africa will rise or fall because of what we do as citizens.

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