After a successful sixth IEC election we enter into a new post election era. As we usher in the "new dawn", it is imperative that we inspire the change we want to see implemented amongst our communities and the nation as a whole.
Citizens are often quick to point the finger at the state for a plethora of mishaps such as poor service delivery, high levels of corruption and lack of job creation. While these matters are valid and simply cannot be seen as just complaining. The main mantra lies with human implementation.
National government employs approximately 455 701 employees, 1 118 748 people working for provincial authorities, a further 311 361 people were employed by local municipalities and 275 851 employees worked for "other government institutions" in South Africa (Stats SA QES). Public representatives in their own capacity are amongst us. They are part of the common people affected by a stunted or unproductive government. The will to do better needs to start amongst fellow locals. We need to do better and be better civilians within our own capacities before we can demand better from the public sector.
Common criminals - people behind public property vandalism, bribe issuers and polluters are amongst our fellow community members. We are quick to lambast senior officials, but we are seldom innocent. From issuing R80 bribes for "cold drink" to traffic officers, ignoring garbage loads that are illegally dumped in open public areas, not reporting the neighbours son who lives off a lifestyle far beyond his career means (an unemployed man who drives expensive cars), to evading taxes and neglecting other civil responsibilities, such as buying from illicit traders (knowingly as to how the products were obtained illegally and that they don't pay tax on goods they sell).
We need to do better and be better citizens. This will inspire good changes and demand more from the public sector. The small acts collectively spark for significant change on a larger scale.
Citizens, in a society made up of fully-grown human beings, must oversee and be responsible for their own behaviour and public conduct. The normalisation of mediocrity starts in our homes and is carried to public institutions and arenas. So, the clean-up must start in our homes. The key to a better society is based on quality civilian ship used as a template for the state to implement effective governance and accountability measures, which will hold those in leadership to account.
Historical literature provides many examples of collective pressure from the native nationals onto the elites which resulted in overhauling of monarchs, dictators and oppressive regimes. One of the good examples would be the toppling of the National Party government which required extraordinary sacrifice and effort of a national scale. The recent wide scale protests in Hong Kong are a clear reminder of the collective power we hold as compatriots.
In tourism we often talk about the economic environment and key tourist attractions, but often overlook the significant impact of friendly welcoming inhabitants that greet tourists with kindness, warmth and enhance the reputation of the touring experience in the country.
Crime often thrives on the individualism complex, habitats where people ignore other aspects of the community and solely focus on their own safety and ignore the rest. In South Africa it has been proven that communities that employ neighbourhood watches experience lower crime rates. A clue as to how we can defeat the damning claws of crime. The police and state require full cooperation and communication in order to effectively have an impact in fighting crime. Be mindful that the number of non-criminals outweighs the number of criminals heavily so collective efforts will go a long way in ensuring overall safer neighbourhoods.
As South Africans we need to carry some form of responsibility off the state and become productive members of society who look to add constructive value to the respective communities. We need to value the country and sow the seeds of enrichment to the nation purely because we collectively demanded a democratic state before 1994. Since then we have been fully subject to democratic systems in all stratifications of society. We need to raise our hand, answer the call and be actively involved, informed and tolerant citizens who value the land they reside in and take full pride in the national brand.
We cannot mandate everything to the ruling party and the top 6 or the NEC, because they are tasked with handing policy down, not implementation (implementation is tasked to lower level management and workers). When municipalities are not delivering on services, the community must COLLECTIVELY demand for change. These actions often require informed citizens who have a basic understanding of how the state systems and laws of governance operate, which is our responsibility to learn.
Recent events such as the Arab spring, the yellow vest movement, the nationwide protests in Sudan and civil unrest in Hong Kong were sparked by a small group of determined individuals dead set on change.
South Africa has come a long way since the historical elections of 1994, let us take heed from the lessons of the past 25 years, liberate ourselves, and our mindset from the shackles of complacency aimed at government over reliance, roll up our sleeves for the next four years and actively make the democracy we fought for, pre-'94 work for us all.