Govt concerned about crime, corruption

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pretoria – Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe has highlighted a need to intensify efforts to combat corruption, warning that it disables the state from delivering on its mandate to improve the lives of all people.

Paying tribute to Amina Cachalia on Saturday at the Wits University, Motlanthe said that key to government’s vision for a better life for all South Africans were the five priority areas which manifest the devastation that the country has suffered over the years.

The five priority areas are: improving our health, education, creating decent work, accelerating rural development and land reform and fighting against crime and corruption

“We are particularly concerned about the fight against crime and corruption because many of government’s programmes, including the other four of the five priorities identified, depend on success in this regard.

“Concomitant with these key priorities is the obligation to better the standard of living of all our people by working to improve our system of governance. This entails a speedy, efficient and effective implementation of all policies and programmes meant to make a difference in the lives of the working class, the under-class, the peasants and the poor in general,” Motlanthe said.

He added that the strategic vision of building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and just society will ring hollow if not underpinned by continued amelioration in the living conditions of ordinary people.

However, he warned that for all their effectiveness and efficiency, systems and programmes of government cannot work if the people who operate and implement them do not personally believe in the ideals that drive society.

He stressed the need to renew national consciousness that impels individuals in society to bring about change, believing that such change is necessary and of benefit both at an individual and societal level.

“This animated national attitude should make us do our best for our country, especially in terms of pulling our fellow compatriots out of poverty. The sight of poverty that mars the socio-economic landscape of our country should assault our sense of personhood, whether we are public servants, the business community or private sector workers.

“Amina understood during her lifetime that poverty, a condition largely engendered by the system of oppression, was the greatest blight on the lives of South Africans and, along with political oppression, had to be eliminated,” he said.

He further warned that another challenge with potentially baneful effects on the fabric of society if left unattended is social cohesion. “We are all aware that our nation is undergoing a healing process following decades of division.”

He said it takes concerted efforts to build social cohesion; it is not an issue that can resolve itself outside human consciousness.

 “It is a fact of our history that more than any generation that has fought the system of racial oppression, Amina’s generation best exemplified inter-racial solidarity and a commendable non-racial outlook.

“Along with her late husband, Yusuf, Amina took up the cudgels for social justice, a struggle that would define her entire life and importantly for us today, her legacy.  A product of her times, Amina Cachalia comes from a golden generation in the annals of both the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid history.”

Cachalia, who died earlier this year, has been described by the Presidency as a seasoned campaigner for women’s rights and one of the liberation movement’s foremost stalwarts. Cachalia came from a fiercely political family and dedicated her life full-on to the emancipation of all oppressed people in South Africa.

Her political activism saw her in leading roles as a member of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress and Transvaal Indian Congress, treasurer of FEDSAW, patron of the Federation of Transvaal Women, among others.

She had several stints in prison such as when she was arrested during the 1952 Defiance Campaign and also participated in the 1956 Women’s March against pass laws, becoming a banned person at various stages.

Cachalia was a Trustee of the Mandela Children’s Fund, member of the Finance Committee of the National Women’s League as well as a recipient of the Presidential National Order of Luthuli in recognition of her life spent fighting for freedom and democracy. –