South Africa


How to reclaim South Africa from the thieves through the Defend our Democracy campaign

How to reclaim South Africa from the thieves through the Defend our Democracy campaign
Finding ways to defend South Africa's democracy: Illustration image//Frank Chikane (Photo by Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu),Discovery CEO Adrian Gore (Photo by Gallo Images / Freddy Mavunda),Mavuso Msimang (Photo by Gallo Images / Rapport / Cornel Van Heerden) and Cheryl Carolus Photo by: Jabu Kumalo

The activist initiative wants to try and clamp down on the spate of corruption plaguing South Africa and reinstate the democratic constitutional rights of its citizens — and it wants your help.

A few years ago, concerned leaders like the Reverend Frank Chikane, Advocate Mojanku Gumbi, Discovery’s Adrian Gore and Peotona’s Cheryl Carolus began to lead talks on defending democracy.  

See the link to the site here:  Defend our Democracy 

Churches, mosques and temples heard messages about the loss of South Africa’s moral compass. Leaders said the country needed a democratic reset. And in communities where the Defend our Democracy campaign held listening campaigns, the message was repeated — government was failing the people.  

(Graphic: Daily Maverick)

Grand corruption is often news. But it is the minor corruptions that make life the most difficult — in school governing bodies, the local Home Affairs queue, the cop shop, and in municipal lists for housing and services. 

The Defend our Democracy campaign, which launches on the afternoon of 7 April, is like a United Democratic Front (UDF) for the modern era. The UDF was born from civic struggles, the churches, trade unions and the then limited enlightened business sector. The campaign has been in a beta phase and is now launched to the broader public. A June conference will put the meat on the bones of how to defend democracy. 

It has set pegs for the areas of concern to constitutional democrats — poverty, unemployment and how the shape of our system of political representation may deepen intractable problems. The campaign’s initiators do not treat the Constitution as a shibboleth but consider areas where it may need to be amended. They do not take pot-shots at it like worried or ambitious ANC leaders have started to. The questions in the graphic are meant as conversation starters so that the campaign is publicly owned and led.  

It is a non-partisan campaign, and while many of its leaders are ANC veterans like Carolus and regular Daily Maverick columnist Mavuso Msimang, they have led the campaign against corruption. The movement will also support and campaign to ensure that the State Capture Commission of Inquiry findings are implemented. DM


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  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Sometimes going back to basics is a worthwhile exercise. From April 2008 to April 2009 through two three day workshops during this period The Dinokeng Scenarios looked at “3 Futures for South Africa.” The team consisted of many of the top people, one being Carol Carolus, that put in a great deal of time and effort in a totally neutral manner to come up with the three scenarios. an impressive and inspiring outcome which by revisiting could well be a rethink, review and revival of what Defend our Democracy could start with. Sadly some of the Dinokeng team are no longer with us but many are still around who would add huge value to what Defend our Democracy is looking to achieve.

  • Heather Moore says:

    Minor corruptions come from living a culture where every day we see few consequences for the convenience of ignoring the law.

    I’ve always thought a focus on enforcing driving & parking infractions would a great way to inject a sense of the Rule of Law into very ordinary moments of daily life.

    Traffic laws tend to be seen as ‘soft’ laws, open to liberal interpretation, but the ‘Well, everyone parks on the sidewalk, so why not me?’ attitude is exactly where a corrupt culture begins.

    We need to engender a culture of self-regulation with consequences for actions, and enforcing traffic laws is such an easy place to start.

    Also, better-run traffic will give people an everyday sense that things are under control, which is where optimism about our country can begin again.

  • jimpowell says:

    Before the next elections the contract (or similar) contained in should be signed by politicalparties and candidates before the next elections

  • L Dennis says:

    We need more dignified people like this ……hooray!

  • Louis Potgieter says:

    Do you want to defend our democracy with, or in spite of, the ANC government? We had a democracy in 1994, not so much tomorrow. We don’t have the time to do it with the ANC government.
    If we buy the excuse of the NPA about the prevalence of saboteurs in their midst, throwing spanners into their works, how much more does this apply to the governing party, where the president battles to even find clean and competent cadres to deploy at ministerial levels?
    The way of renewal is to upend the government party, electorally. The way to do that is by changing voters’ minds – requiring intervention on a massive scale. Let’s have a debate about that.

  • Antony Goedhals says:

    Defend Our Democracy is a great initiative. What’s happening in Russia and Ukraine and in China should remind us how valuable our freedoms are.

  • Sam van Coller says:

    Deepening democracy is a sine qua non to rescuing South Africa. But we have to go further. Corruption is just one of the symptoms of descending into anarchy. There are many others. Unless we take urgent steps to address advanced social disintegration because of our early and recent past, the constitution will be replaced with populism.

  • David Lotter says:

    The draconian measures taken against Zimbabwean citizens seeking to renew work permits is simply an admission of government inability to protect jobs. I know of hundreds of workers losing jobs as their Employers go into liquidation over COVID losses which could easily have been saved with a little financial support. Many are/were viable businesses with long track records in the manufacturing industry.

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