Dear President Zuma
- Jay Naidoo
- 08 Feb 2012 08:31 (South Africa)
We had the highest hopes that we would become the model of reconstruction and development putting the interests of all our people ahead and above the interests of individuals, organisations or even political parties.
We would build an open society unafraid of public debate and criticism. We would hold ourselves accountable to the contract with our people in 1994 to deliver a better life for all.
Today we all yearn for that vision. As you yourself often repeated: "We must take the ANC back to the moral vision and values on which we were founded."
Those values are what galvanised me and millions of South Africans to take up the call to free our people from the crime of apartheid and for which many (including our closest comrades) had to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
It is what mobilised millions of ordinary citizens globally to take a stand against racism and marginalisation of our people.
Today we stand on the edge of a similar precipice. But now our struggle is for freedom from poverty, social inequality and joblessness, for the freedom from want and malnutrition.
We stand alongside you in taking decisive action to fix the education system that you have said fails our children, especially the poor in our townships and rural areas. Let no-one stand in your way in demanding that our teachers be in the classrooms teaching, that principals manage their schools efficiently, that civil servants are held accountable for the delivery of textbooks, libraries, laboratories and the basic infrastructure of electricity, water and sanitation necessary for us to promote a culture of learning.
Let us hold our parents responsible for actively contributing to making our schools work and ensuring that our children are encouraged to study and succeed.
And finally let us promote students’ organisations that build a culture of learning and discipline.
We need to act against the rising tide of political arrogance and corruption that wracks our country and eats at our social fabric. The abuse of state resources is theft from the poor. It is a cancer that corrupts state officials, undermines our democracy and weakens the faith and trust of our people in their public institutions.
We need a zero-tolerance approach to this abuse of power and to tackle corruption wherever it raises its head – in public or private sectors and even in civil society.
Mr. President, a robust civil society is an ally in your leadership to deepen democracy and accountability. It is critical of government weaknesses and supportive of government successes and attempts to do the right thing – just as I am as a South African citizen.
We embraced this as a critical part of our struggle in the past. Let us embrace it as a critical part of our future. Every South African, irrespective of political affiliation, religion, gender or race, wants our country to succeed. We may argue about what are the right choices to make, but that's what makes us a vibrant democracy.
We have conquered many of our demons, but many remain. We need your statesmanship and leadership more than ever. Too many leaders seek to entrench the divisions and tensions we have in our society, to use language that does not unify our nation and give us the strength to tackle the many difficult challenges we face.
Let us harness this energy that we so successfully mobilised in the past to make the difficult choices we need to make today to set our country back on the path of reconstruction and development.?
I appeal that you act on the revolutionary commitments you extracted from your ministers and public officials in their performance agreements they signed with you. Let us debate openly what has been delivered, where we have failed and what we need to do.
Take us all into your confidence. Ask your leadership to exercise the highest level of ethical governance with the greatest level of humility and integrity.
That is my simple wish as a citizen who believes you have the commitment to do the right thing for our people, especially the marginalised and vulnerable in our society.
- Olivio Dutra: A politician rich in values, not money and ambition
- The cost of hatred: Tomorrow will be too late
- South Africa, say it loud and clear: NO to Xenophobia!
- The workers’ dream of unity, assassinated: A eulogy to Cosatu
- Apartheid 2.0: The Gospel according to the 1% super rich
- International development: Murder, one log frame at a time
- Blood, Power and Betrayal
- The night of the long knives
- The global food system is broken; here's how to fix it
- Africa's tomorrow depends on empowering its people today
- Ebola: Fear, Paralysis, Solidarity, Justice
- The UN General Assembly week, New York: A cacophony of noise and hope
- Hiking the roof of Africa; my journey to the depths of myself
- Visualising the end of inequality – a new path to negotiation
- After the platinum strike: We dare not fail now
- Letter to the next generation
- Formal vs. informal economy: Bridging the gap
- Connecting the dots: Building workers’ unity and workers’ power
- Democracy in distress: Are our elections bought and our votes sold?
- May Day 2014: Cosatu's tough choice of the politics of workers unity or politics of political parties
- COSATU: In the eye of the storm
- Twenty years of SA democracy: A new fight must begin
- Kibera: Hope and human dignity rising in the slums of Africa
- The rise and fall of Cosatu: From vanguard to sacrificial lamb
- A leader I would vote for: Botswana's former president Festus Mogae
- A leader I would vote for: President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde
- Op-Ed: A giant stumbling through the minefield of political division – my appeal to the Cosatu workers
- A leader I would vote for: Joaquim Alberto Chissano
- A leader I would vote for: President Mujica of Uruguay
- That Lula Moment: A question of leadership and integrity
- Following the money: Work with citizens to make our money work for all
- Checkmate: The rise of radicalism
- Lords of the Niger Delta: The Shell legacy of profit before people
- Protests, police and cowardice – our State of the Nation
- New stones for my Madiba rosary
- The final journey and the legacy that will always live in our hearts
- After the tears, the hard work of building the world that Mandela believed in
- Mandela's gone. But he will be with us, forever.
- Bekkersdal: The turning point in SA municipal politics – time for a line in the ground
- Africa Rising? Whose Africa?
- The scramble for the Arctic and the dangers of Russia’s race for oil
- Africa's future is clear: Youth, Technology & Broadband
- Child mortality is our human rights failure of the 21st century
- Technology can wipe out the cancer of corruption
- My open letter to South Africa
- Amputating the soul of our children
- The vision of the Invisible Children
- A humble billionaire, asking tough questions
- Cry, the beloved country; cry, the beloved federation
- Humanity at a crossroads: Fighting for climate justice
- Wanted: Ancient wisdoms to heal our planet
- The taste of power: its sanctity and its perversion
- When the town I loved burned down, or, when Heaven was visited by Hell
- As our Constitution lives, so does Mandela
- Bangladesh: Losing some battles, but winning the war
- Rana Square – the Ground Zero of workers’ rights
- Small-scale farming: simple, successful, sustainable
- A global debate needs local voices
- When will Africa be led by the needs of its people?
- The faultlines in our society: Why are we so angry?
- Nigeria: Africa's best hopes and worst fears
- Our ancient African heritage holds the key to our future
- To build a better world for all, we need a new narrative, new energy, new commitment
- A culture of service and tolerance: Lessons from Chris Hani
- Open data platforms: a tool to revolutionise governance
- Aluta continua: Why the fight for quality healthcare can’t be over
- ‘I raped her because she belongs to me’
- Would Hani and Slovo today be accused of Neo-liberalism and Counter-revolution?
- An open letter to my fellow South Africans: I am ready. Are you?
- A trip to Limpopo: The Forgotten Land
- 'I have a right to a toilet - it's human dignity'
- Matric pass rate: On the road to Nobody
- The challenges of today are South Africa's opportunities of tomorrow
- India: The ongoing tyranny of the caste system
- To my generation: Listen. Listen very carefully.
- The Lula moment and this country of ours, South Africa
- African youth: Fulfilling the potential
- Africa’s 'leadership crisis' - we have more agency than we think
- Think climate change isn't your problem? It will be when you can't eat
- The wuthering heights of disenchantment
- An open letter to Cosatu
- Democracy for all: Marikana signals our second chance
- Can't you hear the thunder?
- A new age, a new role for foundations: redefine development
- Video series - great women of SA: Emma Mashinini (I)
- Mother love: Time to add decency and respect to women's hard-won rights
- GAINing ground: The beauty of one good idea
- Education: a morass of mediocrity
- Madiba week: The lessons his sacrifice taught us, part V
- Madiba week: The lessons his sacrifice taught us, part IV
- Madiba week: The lessons his sacrifice taught us, part III
- Madiba week: The lessons his sacrifice taught us, part II
- Celebrating Madiba week: The lessons his sacrifice taught us
- Mandela day: time for the next generation to take control
- The school of sexual predation
- Rio+20: We're not colonies anymore
- Prayers to the rain gods
- Our foreign policy gets more foreign as time goes by
- Not a moment to Spear: Why, in a time of crisis, that painting is irrelevant
- Ma Emma: The true spear of the nation
- Araku - the truth, the inspiration
- An infinite vision - The story of the Aravind eye hospital
- Get up, stand up South Africa!
- Our future lies in the mothers of nature
- There's a Light in the Get Kony Campaign
- Empowerment lies in women in Indian villages talking to those in African villages
- Dear President Zuma
- Adequate food is essential component of social justice
- Durban to Rio could be our Road to Damascus
- The Grinch who stole hope
- The Grinch who stole hope
- iMaverick, Monday 28 November
- Africa at the crossroads: Let's talk Brazil
- The secrecy bill: Welcome back, Magnus Malan & Adriaan Vlok
- The powder kegs of unmet expectations in our midst
- iMaverick, Wednesday 19 October
- Finding one's humanity where little else remains
- Food security: A matter of war and peace