Most of us have enjoyed shorter work weeks lately because of the Easter weekend and public holidays like Workers’ Day and election day, which was on May 8. I trust you have gone out in your numbers and made your mark. The canvassing by political parties has stopped. The radio and TV ads as well as some SMS campaigns have come to an end, and the elections are wrapped up.
Now we look forward to the first term of the new government. Our votes were turned into seats, which are now occupied by the members of the new parliament. Our public representatives are there on the benches, some with renewed vigour and motivation for their next term in office.
Hopefully, the cabinet will be trimmed and some ministries collapsed into more streamlined and effective entities. This would be a great cost-cutting measure, or am I just imagining what our country could be like if we manage to change our perspective?
Many of the new members of parliament are older members of newly formed parties or of parties that they have represented before. Now they have to make good on their promises.
But will the results of their efforts in governing translate into better service delivery? Will we see proper accountability and will some of our depleted municipalities receive the necessary attention they deserve?
This is not asking too much, but where we come from as a nation, there are some that deserve better treatment. We still have communities that struggle without basic services like electricity or water. The costs of these amenities are forever increasing, making it unaffordable for a large majority of the population.
Coupled with the huge backlog in affordable housing, this is the main reason behind many service delivery protests, which negatively affect the economy as roads are blocked, traffic disrupted and property destroyed during some of the demonstrations.
The vicious cycle places so much pressure on the members of these communities: kids are kept out of school, their parents have no public transport, and resources like the South African Police Service and other emergency services are not available.
It’s not favourable, but in the light of the promises and commitment made in the manifestos of political parties, are there not clear plans to remedy the situation? As voters and citizens, we expect action to be taken. We want a government that accepts the way it operated was not the most effective way, a government that realises the difficult decisions that need to be made.
We want to see the perpetrators of crime prosecuted, dishonest politicians to return their ill-gotten gains to the people, and a government that shows true leadership. Twenty-five years of democracy so far has brought many examples of the type of leadership required to guide the country into the future. There have also been examples of the type of leadership we don’t want.
We have matured as a nation and can measure our performance in terms of economic and social development against other African countries. We have numerous global challenges too, but also the opportunity to acknowledge our blessings and focus on the positive. Let’s not go back to where we were before the elections.
Unemployment and high levels of crime are worrying and South Africans must address these with government. An increase in the economic growth of the country should be achieved through innovation and dedication. We need to garner support from one another and work together, not focus on our indifferences. This, in my opinion, would be a responsible way of building a brighter, sustainable future in our beautiful country.