Defend Truth

Opinionista

Let us move from suspicion and harsh judgment to generosity

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Pastor Bert Pretorius is Senior Pastor of 3C Church, and Chairman of Rhema Family Churches.

Actual change comes from action, not just words. If we want to cultivate trust and hope, we need to be the change we want to see. That is authentic influence.

When incompetence and corruption intersect, the consequences can be significant. The ramifications can range from compromised organisational integrity and reputational damage to legal violations and financial losses. Businesses and government institutions must be vigilant in promptly and effectively addressing the underlying issues and their consequences.

To this end, it is crucial to maintain an unwavering commitment to ethical conduct and to establish robust systems and processes to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with incompetence and corruption.

After learning about the tragic cholera-related deaths in Hammanskraal, I visited the disaster-struck area where it became clear that a combination of incompetence and corruption has resulted in declining service delivery standards and these fatal incidents. To date, 32 lives have been lost, many in Hammanskraal itself. It is a concerning situation that needs to be addressed urgently.

My team and I have been working closely with affected families, trying to provide support and hope during this difficult time. The pain and suffering caused by this preventable outbreak is heart-wrenching.

The situation in South Africa is complex and raises questions about accountability for past incidents. Corruption and incompetence are pervasive bedfellows, with corruption being the deliberate misuse of power for personal gain and incompetence being a lack of ability to perform necessary duties. A lack of vision exacerbates both issues, and it is a frustrating reality that the country must confront.

Unfortunately, too many people blame others for societal issues instead of taking responsibility for themselves. The attitude of being a spectator instead of a participant leads to a lack of accountability. The truth is that every citizen, from politicians, officials, business leaders and spiritual leaders to members of the public should take personal responsibility for societal issues. We cannot simply say, ‘It’s not my job’, and absolve ourselves of our obligation. We are all charged with creating a better society for all.

While it may be easy to point fingers at politicians for the tragic deaths in Hammanskraal, we must also acknowledge the role of ordinary people in exacerbating the issue.

Our society has become marked by lawlessness, with many individuals openly boasting about their success in bribing officials and hastening government procedures for their benefit.

This symptom of the normalisation of corruption is particularly concerning, as it is often rationalised as a necessary response to incompetence. The reality is that both corruption and incompetence erode trust and fairness — two essential components for healthy economic growth, democracy, and social cohesion.

It is time for us to build a culture where we all take responsibility for empowering our generation. It is not enough to shout from the sidelines. Sideline commentary may be effective for a little while, much like the annoying bark of a little chihuahua. At first, it is all you hear, but as time passes, the barking becomes part of the background noise and it will be ignored. Actual change comes from action, not just words. If we want to cultivate trust and hope, we need to be the change we want to see. That is authentic influence.

Despite the challenges, I have faith in the resilience of the South African people. But for this to mean anything, each citizen must rise to their potential.

To truly uplift our nation, every individual must take responsibility for investing in our people. Through the cultivation of intellectual, social, and moral capacity, we can achieve greatness. While progress may not manifest instantly, we must have unwavering faith in the potential of this mindset.

Let us lay down our tendency towards suspicion and harsh judgment and instead focus on fostering a culture of generosity. Investing our resources, particularly our time, into our communities is our most valuable contribution.

The question must be, ‘What can I do? How can I serve the people of our nation?’ We should not ask what we can get out of it, nor how the nation serves us. South Africa is ours. It is up to us to make it work.

Above all, we all have the power to make ethical choices and decisions every day, starting from a young age. The tragic incident in Hammanskraal serves as a reminder that the result of going against what is right has consequences for individuals and society as a whole.

As advocates for social justice, we can provide unwavering support to marginalised communities by standing for policy reforms that promote genuine equality. We can also ensure that our community structures are fully functional and integrated into all aspects of society through open and honest discussions, speaking out against harmful beliefs and behaviours where these are apparent.

It is up to all of us to take responsibility, and do better, while remaining transparent and accountable, recognising our connectedness as we work together for a brighter future for our nation. There is hope yet. DM

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  • Abrie Pretorius says:

    Yes, let’s be a people that take action. Not just mere talking, complaining and murmuring. Let’s do our part, each rising to our full potential. There IS hope yet!

    • Niek Joubert says:

      Should we get our president to get off his dollar stuffed coach and start taking action? Or is this one of those abstract sermons where a message is delivered and no-one feels inspired?

  • Fergus Macleod says:

    It is difficult to fault commentators who preach the power of positive thinking. However, the best action we can take is to vote out the populist idiots who always implement the wrong policies and choose the worst bedfellows.

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