Call to young leaders to have courage to step out of line in pursuit of the right thing
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has told the University of Stellenbosch young leaders to have courage to step out of line in pursuit of the right thing.
She said, we should preoccupy ourselves with the faithful implementation of the South African Constitution.
Although not the only actor, the state will have to play an important role in moving society toward the constitutional ideal, but side by side we must stand in defence of the constitutional ideals, she said.
She was speaking at the Lusaka 25th Re-Union at the University of Stellenbosch, in remembrance of the Student Union Delegation that visited the then banned ANC in Lusaka, Zambia.
At the core of the Lusaka visit is an act of leadership by young people, also at the core of the story is the courage to step out of line. Young people took a bold step to go and engage an organization perceived then as the enemy of the state and presented by the apartheid state as the enemy of the people of South Africa, she said.
The central theme of Adv Madonsela address was on the role of student leaders. She said, There is no doubt in my mind that student leadership and politics play an important role in nurturing and preparing young leaders to later assume positions of power and influence in society.”
She said in the past two years she has been engaging a lot with university students and expressed hope that the country is in good hands saying “I often get a sense of hope for the future after a frank debate with such inquisitive minds because it was in such institutions and environment that some of the greatest leader the world has ever seen cut their political and leadership teeth.”
She cited respected leaders such the late former President, Nelson Mandela, his friend and comrade, OR Tambo, US President Barack Obama, Liberian President Ellen Johnson as some of those who started their leadership journeys on university and dared to step out of line campuses, she noted.
She said, we do not need any more Madibas, OR Tambos, Helen Suzmans, Charlote Maxekes. They have played their part as demanded by their time. However, we need the same thinking, same willingness to step out of line when their consciences tell them to do so. It is said in great thinking comes actions that a small with big impact.
She said one of the responsibilities student leaders have to play their part and not look the other way in the face of continuing discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religious, ethnic, disability and nationality amongst others.
She noted that we have observed confrontations along those lines despite the fact that we have a world acclaimed constitution that call for non-racial and non-sexist society that does not discriminate on the basis of creed, ethnicity, culture belief or social origin.
Young people should also not look the other way and provide thought leadership to deal with challenges such as indifference, maladministration, corruption, abuse of power, abuse of state resources, and a host of other maladies instate affairs, she said.
The non implementation of the Promotion of Equality act would have gone a long way in preventing tragedies such as Marikana which have something to do with social justice and equality.
Adv. Madonsela paid tribute to the late Ms Epainette Mbeki, a struggle veteran, the wife of late struggle stalwart Govan Mbeki and mother of the former President Thabo Mbeki, who is laid to rest today, wishing the family strength and comfort.
She also paid tribute to a former Revonia Trialist Ms Ayesha Dawood who also died last week.
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