Public Protector calls on young people to join united front against maladministration
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has called on young people to partner with her office, government, parliament and other constitutional institutions to form a united front against maladministration at all levels of government.
Speaking at her office’s Youth Month commemoration event in Mthatha, Eastern Cape on Tuesday, the Public Protector said:
“The main role young people of Madiba’s time and 1976 saw for themselves was to fight colonialism and racial oppression. One of the key challenges that should concern young people today is maladministration, including corruption in state affairs. Maladministration is sometimes as harmful as apartheid to its victims, some of whom have lost their homes due to it.”
The Public Protector challenged young people to find their place and play a part in supporting and strengthening the country’s constitutional democracy.
She called on young people to study the Constitution as it would open their eyes to what they were entitled to, who had to see to it that those entitlements were received and how those entrusted with public power had to conduct themselves in exercising control over public resources.
“There is a role for young people everywhere, but everything starts with understanding and respecting the Constitution and the rule of law. When you understand the Constitution you are better positioned to hold those in government accountable while helping victims of maladministration in your communities” she said.
The Public Protector told the packed Mthatha Town hall that young people needed a different mindset and tools to play their part in ensuring that they supported the country’s constitutional democracy.
“You will agree with me that to play an effective role in building constitutional democracy, young people today require a different mindset and leadership skills than their predecessors. In 1976 young people needed the ability to dismantle apartheid whereas today young people need to build constitutional democracy,” she said.
The Public Protector said through the support of her office and other constitutional bodies, democracy would be strengthened. She, however, pointed out that these institutions are not a substitute for democracy and cannot strengthen constitutional democracy alone. She stated that constitutional democracy is a system that requires a partnership approach.
She praised the youth of 1976 and the youth of the late former President, Nelson Mandela’s time for taking a stand against oppression and their part in conceptualising the South Africa they thought they deserved despite the challenges presented by brutal colonialism and apartheid.
The Public Protector challenged young people to follow in the footstep of their 1976 counterparts in meeting the democratic and other challenges of their day head on. These included maladministration and corruption, which the Public Protector said deprived them a better life as promised by the Constitution.
She appealed to young people doing business with the state to act with integrity and ensure that they got their share through proper channels and served the people of South Africa diligently.
Meanwhile the community of King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality used the opportunity to complain to the Public Protector about service delivery in their area. The complaints included issues such as alleged corruption in social grants, the scholar transport system and land. The complaints -mainly from young people- also included working without pay in education, health and the police services, and alleged financial irregularities in the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality. One young person alleged that her 2010 matric results remained outstanding.
The Public Protector provided Executive Mayor Cllr. Ngqongwa and her team with an opportunity to respond to the complaints raised by community members. She called on the municipality to open channels of communication and listen to the community’s grievances. She further undertook to take the matters up with the Eastern Cape government.
She concluded her speech by challenging young people to draw lessons from Madiba’s generation and their 1976 by playing their part in supporting constitutional democracy thus ensuring that government fears or respects the people instead of the people being the ones fearing government.
She reiterated the assertion she had made earlier that “where people fear government there is tyranny whereas where government fears and respects the people, freedom reigns.”
“The constitutional democracy you yearn for lies in your hands,” she said.
For more information contact:
Mr Momelezi Kula
Cell: 083 494 4074