Today, South Africans stand on the threshold of the possibility of a new start and a captivating sense of the consciousness of all the people that they are the masters of their destiny, that they should reclaim their government, democracy and the future of their country.
On the eve of an unprecedented moment in the history of our young democracy, we, of the Congress of the People (Cope), are highly elated and encouraged by the overwhelming response of the masses of our people, black and white, to push back against the evil forces of corruption and those whose sole purpose is to abort the 1994 vision of a better South Africa for all.
We are particularly moved by the resurgence of the spirit of mobilisation, organisation and action to ensure a thorough-going process of genuine transformation of our society into a better place and a better tomorrow for all. This people’s collective action, united in diversity, has been the missing cog in the people’s responsibility to hold our elected representatives responsive and accountable.
Those of us in Cope, stridently raised the alarm bells since 2008, and even before then, of an impending catastrophe of the trajectory our country was being driven into by populist demagogues who captured the levers of power. In recent years, Cope has been vindicated on everything that is taking place in our country, under the Jacob Zuma era. We said that, under Jacob Zuma, South Africa was going to fall into despondency, the economy was going to downgrade and the poor were going to suffer the most. We said that under Jacob Zuma, our Constitution and constitutional democracy was going to be under threat. And we also said that, under Jacob Zuma. the economy would cease to grow, and that corruption would be the order of the day.
Yes, it is true that we disappointed a lot of people who had high hopes for Cope and some among us dropped the ball. For that we apologised unreservedly in 2014, and continue to do so, for the long time it took to resolve our challenges. Despite the total onslaught persecuted by our detractors, the temptation of the offer of large sums of money and lucrative positions in the era of “transactional politics”, we remained steadfast in pursuit of the truth for the sake of our country.
Today we are few but better. We are hard at work to rebuild the vitality and strength of our party. We are certainly on the road to overcome the odds. We subscribe to value based responsible politics with an unwavering commitment to constitutionalism and progress. Populism and narrow vote catching rhetoric is what got our country into this mess.
It is becoming clear that when Cope was formed, it was onto something. Many South Africans have now conceded that Cope truly had foresight on things to come, despite being ridiculed and labelled as “disgruntled” or “bitter” and “didn’t want to be led”. History will indeed absolve us from the destruction of a beautiful country full of promise and an envy of many in the world community.
Today, South Africans stand on the threshold of the possibility of a new start and a captivating sense of the consciousness of all the people that they are the masters of their destiny, that they should reclaim their government, democracy and the future of their country. Those who are public representatives should have realised the anger of the people about the betrayal that has been robbing them off a growing economy that creates jobs, an efficient government that delivers services and a truly caring leadership that serves them without preoccupation with material self-enrichment. They are expected to put their country and its people first, nothing less.
Congress of the People is well aware and alive to the strong yearning for change in the affairs of the nation, change that should instil hope and that should bring back the confidence in the future of our country. We are all South Africans and have a common destiny.
The Congress of the People (Cope) has long hoped for this day when our people will take to the streets in a responsible way to demand change. This day for change has arrived! DM
Willie Madisha is Cope Deputy President
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