OPINION | Dear ANC Delegate, Poverty, unemployment and inequality reign supreme writes Lawson Naidoo

Before you are two choices. One responds to South Africans’ increasingly desperate pleas about their material conditions. The other advances your own partisan party-political aspirations. I hope that you know which is the right one to make.

We are at a pivotal moment in our history. Poverty, unemployment and inequality reign supreme where the constitution should; South Africans are disillusioned about the grand promises of the past and are looking elsewhere for solutions; institutions of government continue to fail the most vulnerable; and businesses are struggling to thrive under tough global economic conditions worsened by the seemingly never-ending energy crisis.

It is all our hope that both the policy and electoral outcomes of this weekend’s conference will herald in a new era of an open, responsive and accountable ANC.

At the top of your minds should be the restoration of democratic institutions weakened by state capture, the failure of government to realise the achievement of the socioeconomic rights enshrined in our constitution, the rampant corruption and impunity of public officials and the government’s inability to address these. A reckoning is upon us.

We hope too, that this conference will shed the ANC’s ambivalence to the judiciary and that it will come out in full defence of the guardians of our constitutional democracy. Courts and governments are designed not as rivals but companions in the achievement of our constitutional ideals. Where government seeks to achieve those goals, courts will only intervene where it strays beyond its limits. When the courts intervene constantly, the fault lies not with them but with the means that government has chosen.

Remember the words of the ANC NWC to Jack Simons, chair of the constitutional committee, in 1986: “How do we frame a constitution which can translate the slogan ‘People’s Power’ into reality by making a framework of government that ensures the government will always be subject to the people?” Even in exile, the constitutional mission was clear.

Now, yours is to form a government not above, but subject to the people’s will as captured in the constitution that you both drafted, adopted and have sought to uphold. People’s power is realised when the people are in full control of their destiny.

May you be guided by this glorious revolutionary history unto good choices for the benefit of all South Africans, united in our diversity.

By Lawson Naidoo, Executive Secretary, Casac 

Source: Business Day

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