My understanding of Parliaments is that its purpose is to improve the quality of government. An effective Parliament should be the basis for effective government. Parliament is the most important link between the public and the executive – it should keep government in touch with public feeling and alert with issues about which the public feel strongly. I deliberately decided to contextualize the significant of Parliament as the significant of this month was emphasized.
On the 10th of May 1994 of Nelson Mandela as the first democratically elected South African President in his inauguration said:
“The moment to bridge the chasm that divide us has come ….We enter into covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall without any fear in their hearts, assured of the inalienable right to human dignity – rainbow nation is at last at peace with itself and the world at large ….We must therefore act together as a united people for national recovery…Never, never and never again it be that this beautiful land will experience of oppression of one by another.”
These powerful words coming the icon of the struggle against apartheid, indeed the government led by the African National Congress (ANC) will consolidate partnerships across society to strengthen social cohesion and ensure that our nation achieve the values of caring society, inspired by the traits of human compassion which informed our struggle against colonialism. Indeed, the need to build co-operation among all South Africans more so to matters of spiritual sustenance such as beliefs and moral values which are as communal as they are profoundly personal. This is part of the statement reflected in the strategy and tactics of the ANC as adopted by the 52nd National Conference when dealing the part of building social cohesion and promoting the values of the caring society.
I deliberately decided to revisit the strategic document because 2009 was declared by the ANC as “The year to defend the Unity of our Organization and protect the gains of our National Democratic Revolution (NDR).
This month of July is a historic month; it is the month we are to celebrate the birthday of our icon Tata Mandela. What is more historic about the 18th of July 2009 is that it has been declared a Nelson Mandela Day. A call has been made by the President of the country his Excellency J.G Zuma that all South African to dedicate 67 minutes of their time doing something positive for the country. The basis for 67 minutes is premised on the fact that Nelson Mandela has dedicated 67 years of his life being active for the goodwill of humanity in South Africa and the world over. The greatest gift as South African as people of the world, we can celebrate the 91st birthday of Tata Mandela is to truly dedicate our time and where possible resources advancing the good cause. This year we will celebrate Mandela Day through community work wth the theme: “Working together for the common good of our nation”. This community work will be part of the partnership for Reconstruction, Development and Progress announced by President Zuma in his Presidential inauguration address.
We have to do that being guided by the words of Karl Marx when he said:
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please, they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found given and transmitted from the past.”
As South African as early as the beginning of this historic month we can start the month by asking ourselves the question:
How can we contribute to the task as the clarion call has been made given the challenge people face on daily basis? We need always to masters of pushing back the frontiers of poverty as the recent door to door campaign has highlighted the challenges that we have to deal with. We shall always face the option of whether to wallow in the mire of pettiness, or to deal with the real issues that face the people as we know them.
In celebrating his birthday in a way that will impact very positive to other people‘s lives will be a positive response to the principle of service and sacrifice. Tata Mandela once said that as long as blood courses through his veins, he will be at the side of the people as the strive to change their conditions. I am convinced that after this month with the positive attitude the response to the call by the President will go a long way I contributing to making South Africa today to be more batter than yesterday.
Let me hasten to quote the President of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh who once said:
“Every revolution is the consequence of one revolution and the beginning of another. So always be true to the party and loyal to the people, fulfill any task, overcome any difficulty and defeat any enemy”
In concluding my contribution to quote the very same son of the soil, the great exemplar of the grand democratic tradition Tata Nelson Mandela (Former President of the country and the African National Congress) as he put it so well in the second last paragraph of his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. He says South Africa will not be free until we have achieved the freedom to be free. You all have the right not to be oppressed but simply casting off the chains does not mean that you are free: you have to learn to live with courage and respect and enhance the freedom of others. In that sense, it is still Long Walk to Freedom.
All of the best of the endeavour to make Mpumalanga a better place.