NEW ANTI-APARTHEID STYLE EXTRA PARLIAMENTARY ORGANISATION TO BE LAUNCHED IN DURBAN SOON
(SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO EXPRESSED THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT RACISM IN THE NEW DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA)
By Subry Govender
A new non-government and extra-parliamentary organisation is to be launched soon to re-vitalise the activism of the anti-apartheid era in order to help in the promotion of a truly non-racial and democratic society as articulated in the country’s new Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Details of the new organisation, for the interim called the United Citizens Forum(UCF), were unveiled during a meeting of some former anti-apartheid activists, struggle stalwarts, concerned individuals and other interested groups at the Ritson Campus of the Durban University of Technology on Sunday (May 29).
The meeting was a follow-up to an earlier gathering of former activists held at the same venue early in March.
(THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA HAS A LONG WAY TO GO TO OVERCOME THE INEQUALITIES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT)
The new activist organisation, which could resemble the United Democratic Front(UDF) of the anti-apartheid era, will be structured “to foster a society that is fully integrated across racial and class lines” and to embark on projects that promote social cohesion, poverty alleviation and non-racism in every aspect of life.
(Mr Siva Naidoo, who is an Interim Committee of the new initiative)
A leader of the Interim Committee, Mr Siva Naidoo, who is a former UDF and Natal Indian Congress activist, said the new organisation would work with the Government and all other role players to achieve a race-free society where all citizens would enjoy “the fruits of our new non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society”.
“We aim to revitalise the activism that informed the struggle against apartheid and develop a new generation of young activists,” Naidoo said in his presentation at the meeting.
“We aim also to strengthen the capacity of government to respond to the challenges that we face as a society, and to strengthen the responsiveness of the private sector to the needs of social justice and greater economic equality,” he said.
The new organisation would not act as a political party and would not involve itself with political parties.
“We seek to develop young leaders who will have a sense of service to the people of this country.”
(Professor Jerry Coovadia and former judge, Mr Thumba Pillay)
Some of the former activists and stalwarts who participated and made inputs at the meeting were former judge, Mr Thumba Pillay; Professor Jerry Coovadia; Mr Paddy Kearney, a former Director of Diakonia; Mr Siyanda Mkhulisi of Lamontville; Ms Mary Mtombela, Mr Alex Sokela; Mr Lucas Makahuza, Ms Coral Vinsen; Mr Crispin Hemson; Professor George Devenish; Ms Nora Saneka; Ms Zwale Kakaze; Ms Gladys Ngxabi; and Ms Ndzumo Kanyisile.
Most of the participants said there was a sense of urgency for citizens to become active once again.
(Professor George Devenesh)“We need to be speaking out once again because there is a sense of paralysis on the part of the government. This is clearly noticed when we witness what is happening during service delivery protests around the country,” said Professor Devenesh.
(Young activist, Mr Nkonzo Mkhize)
A young activist, Mr Nkonzo Mkhize, said there was a need for government and civil society to work together to overcome the social and economic problems affecting the country.
“There is a disconnect at the moment”, he said.
(Mrs Nora Saneka)
Another participant, Mrs Nora Saneka, said she found that “ANC politicians are not listening to the voice of the people”.
“We must move away from protest politics to development politics”, she said.
(Veteran activist, Ms Coral Vinsen, with two new generation observors - Nkonzo Mkhize and Lloyd Govindsamy)
A veteran activist, Ms Coral Vinsen, said South Africans need to act fast to save the country from descending into an abyss.
She said Adolf Hitler succeeded in Germany despite that country having a constitutional democracy.
“Hitler succeeded because civil society did not get up and speak out against his excesses. Germany had one of the finest constitutions but yet Hitler rose and plunged his country into war,” said Vinsen.
The new movement envisages itself as an International Organisation but initially would focus itself in the Ethekwini region. Thereafter, it would extend to other regions, provinces and countries
A strategic workshop would be held in June to finalise the constitution and the launch date of the new organisation. – ends May 30 2016