Sataar Parker, Gatesville Mosque
As a faith-based institution, the Gatesville Mosque does not normally comment on matters of a party political nature although the Islamic ethos does not preclude it from doing so.
However, the current political situation in our country is so grave and uppermost in the minds of millions, that it would not be an over exaggeration to say we have virtually reached the crossroads in our political and historic determination of the future of our beloved country.
And as this tumultuous year draws to an end, the eyes and ears of almost every South African and indeed millions abroad will be sharply focused on the events and outcome of the ANC’s 54th elective conference to be held in Johannesburg.
The approximately 4 700 delegates will determine – to some degree – the future of 60 million people in our country for decades to come.
There is no doubt that our country is bleeding. Bleeding politically, economically and traumatically with the result that millions of people are living in abject poverty according to recent surveys.
We have become among the most unequal societies in the world – exactly the opposite of the hopes and aspirations of millions leading up to the 1994 euphoria.
Our economy is stagnant, to say the least. Less than 1% growth, junk status ratings, outflow of investment, huge debt burden – indeed a grim picture.
This, as a direct result of the political inertia within the ruling party at present.
And all this in a country that the Almighty has graced with virtually every natural resource known to man, from gold, diamonds, copper, platinum, natural beauty and above all, a rainbow nation.
If this state of affairs is not addressed, then the only alternative is a period of further economic stagnation putting more millions into the dark abyss.
Hence this appeal to the 4 700-odd delegates to this watershed ANC elective conference this year.
Your party – the dominant political movement in our country – is one that espouses values of dignity, honour and morality. Together with many other liberation movements, you led the struggle for freedom in a manner admired the world over.
To your credit, post-1994, you have delivered water, housing, electricity, health care and many other basic essentials to millions of poor. That has to be placed on record and commended.
But there are also today more homeless people, millions unemployed, 40% of the population barely manage to exist with under one dollar a day, people sleeping under bus shelters, an education crisis and a large group of youth who have nothing to look forward to in life but to join gangs that are ravaging our communities with crime. To quote Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu “living in the bondage of poverty”.
Your party gave our nation leaders like Bishop Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo.
They were indeed a moral compass during the darkest days of our sordid past.
Today, it seems that we have lost it all to corruption, nepotism, and downright greed.
Our appeal to you – all 4 700 delegates – is to make the choice in such a way that you are fully cognisant of the fact that this will determine the future of 60 million human beings – many starving and homeless and with little hope for the future.
We urge you. This time around let your choice be a moral decision above a political one.
It might be wishful thinking on our part, but if it helps to prick the conscience of at least a few of those delegates, then reading this appeal would have been worth it.
At stake for the nation is not only democracy or government and the resultant power but governance based on ethical and inspirational leadership.
As Napoleon said: “The world suffers not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people.”
Hence we were of the opinion that we need to make this important appeal to you.
May you be guided accordingly.
God bless Africa – especially South Africa.