Parties call for moral and civil service regeneration

Political parties the African Transformation Movement, United Democratic Movement, Inkatha Freedom Party and the Good Party acknowledge many things have “fallen through the cracks” despite 30 years of democracy.

While some of their ideologies and policies might differ, tackling crime and corruption are top priorities should they be voted into government post-May 29, say the party leaders of the African Transformation Movement (ATM), United Democratic Movement (UDM), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Good party.

As part of a panel discussion at the Donald Gordon Auditorium at the Wits School of Governance recently, these parties acknowledged many things have “fallen through the cracks” despite 30 years of democracy.

They said fixing the country means taking decisive steps and measures soon.

According to Good Party Cape Town mayoral candidate Brett Herron, to fight crime, they will use a system that will prevent and detach corruption before it happens.

Professor Themba Maseko, the acting Head of the Wits School of Governance.

“We will address the structure of government that has underperformed and disappointed citizens for the last 30 years. We won’t be able to change political leadership unless we address and restructure the public service that supports and implements the government’s mandate,” he said.

“Our key offering is to reform and structure the public service, professionalising public service and reducing the role of political leadership in public service.”

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa supported Herron’s statement of professionalising the civil service.

“Our country is a crime scene. People don’t feel safe in their homes, in their vehicles or walking on the streets. Our country needs a new approach to dealing with crime. Our approach is to create an environment that will create job opportunities for everyone and end load-shedding.

“Crime affects investment opportunities because few people are keen to invest in a criminal society,” Hlabisa said.

“It’s important for this country to have efficient government hold power. Social and economic justice should be revisited because most people are becoming poorer by day while the minority, irrespective of race, are getting richer.”

Moderating the panel, Dr Caryn Abrahams speaks to Aubrey Katsna of ATM, Professor Mthunzi Mdwaba of UDM, Velenkosini Hlabisa of IFP and Brett Herron of the Good Party.

Hlabisa said people are employed without the necessary qualifications or skills and simply because of their political alignment, saying this needs auditing.

“The immigration system must be revisited, so we can have effective controls at borders and home affairs because one can’t structure a budget for a country when you don’t know how many citizens you need to serve.

“Everyone should be documented. Foreigners who don’t have specialised skills should return to their countries,” said Hlabisa.

Meanwhile, ATM secretary general Aubrey Katsana emphasised the need to professionalise governance and improve leadership and accountability.

Professor Mthunzi Mdwaba of the UDM said corruption destroys freedom.

“Moral regeneration is key if we are to move forward. We’ve lost our value system. When you want to do good, you are seen as abnormal and labelled as someone who thinks they are better than others.

“South Africans need therapy because we are a highly traumatised society. We have disdain for each other, so we need something to bring us together again.”

Harron shared Mdwaba’s sentiments, adding that South Africans should share the 1994 dream of a just and fair country before they were intentionally, physically and economically divided.

The discussion’s second session saw additional party leaders of Action SA, Rise Mzansi, Build One South Africa, and independent candidates not represented in parliament take to the podium.

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