Black on White: Government is for the people

With an estimated three million new possible voters in 2014, young people have an opportunity to influence the outcome of elections in 2014. With this in mind, it is important for the youth to register to vote.

Having had an opportunity to engage young people on the importance of voting, I was impressed at the enthusiasm of the one group, while concerned about the other group’s take on politics. While half of them are showing interest in politics, the other half was not interested at all. Sadly, it is not just the youth who are anti-politics, the elders too.

If we want change, it is our responsibility to stand up and be heard. We cannot afford to leave decisions of the country in somebody else’s hands. My dream for this country is to see every South African to take ownership of the government we deserve, a government for the people.

An effective government is not a government by politicians, for politicians; rather a government by the people, for the people. It is the will of the people that should govern, not the ambition of politicians. When leaders fail to listen to the will of the people, they don’t deserve to rule.

Take E-tolling for example; as I said before, government has never produced a constructive argument why we need to pay urban tolling. To think when our president tried to explain urban tolling he was reported to have said, “We cannot think like Africans in Africa generally, we’re in Johannesburg”. He is reported to have added that the Gauteng highways are ‘not some national road in Malawi’, to further buttress his distasteful humour.

Not only is that degrading fellow Africans, but it is the last thing a state president should insinuate, even if he was ‘joking’.

As much as I believe the ANC is not necessarily a bad party, their problems include their current leadership and I have a few question marks about their approach to serving the people of South Africa. Although any party needs the majority to win elections, government also needs a buy-in from the minority.

These are some of the things every voter will need to keep in mind when voting next year. Dare to think beyond the current campaign, think about the five years in between. It is not my duty to tell you who to vote for, but make sure who you vote for is likely to represent you well in government.

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