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Songezo Zibi forms think-tank to take on 'deepening sense of national crisis'

16 January 2022 - 18:23
Former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi has announced the formation of a new think-tank, The Rivonia Circle. Stock photo.
Former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi has announced the formation of a new think-tank, The Rivonia Circle. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/SMSHOOT

Former Business Day editor Songezo Zibi has announced the formation of a new think-tank, The Rivonia Circle (RC).

In a statement announcing its launch on Sunday, Zibi said the collective was a public policy and political alternatives research, public dialogue and public leadership development non-profit initiative.

“RC is a response to a deepening sense of national crisis that is unlikely to end unless we take on the responsibility of reshaping key institutions, policies, our political culture and economy to better respond to our challenges,” said Zibi.

The collective would have four pillars.

“The first will be to reimagine our political and state institutions so we can expand democratic participation, deepen accountability and have a modern state as a backbone of our efforts to create a more just society.

“Creating a new political culture is not just a matter of electing different politicians. Our political and government institutions need to be reformed in such a way that they facilitate and ensure that culture. It will not happen by happenstance,” he said.

Its second pillar, according to a statement, will be to develop ways in which to reshape and modernise the economy to make it more inclusive and capable of competing in a rapidly changing world where climate change is causing further strife and suffering.

“Unlike traditional think-tanks, we will make these ideas accessible to South Africans from all walks of life, engaging in structured public dialogues to help us to gain useful insights into the life experiences of our people. This is so we can further strengthen the reform ideas we develop.

“Finally, we are building a world-class leadership development programme so that we can have a corps of energetic modernisers that are situated in different spheres of SA society. Not only will they share the same vision, they will also commit to working together to introduce these ideas and principles in their spheres of influence,” said Zibi.

He said the RC is inspired by the country's constitution, which recognises our past and the need to make the necessary sacrifices and effort to build a more just and inclusive future.

“We do not blame the constitution for lack of will or capability to help the SA people to change their lives for the better. We believe that the social democratic values of justice, equality, freedom and solidarity are the finest expression of our constitution’s ideals, and as such we believe SA’s future should be positively social democratic.”

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