NEW PROGRESSIVE PEOPLES’ ORGANISATION – ACTIVE CITIZENS’ MOVEMENT (ACM) – TO BE LAUNCHED IN DURBAN IN OCTOBER
By Subry GovenderA new citizens’ forum, initiated by former anti-apartheid leaders and activists, is to be officially launched in five months’ time in October to contribute to the values and principles of the country’s new democratic and non-racial Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The decision to launch the Active Citizens’ Movement(ACM), formerly known as the United Citizens’ Forum, was taken at a workshop held at the Durban University of Technology(DUT) on Sunday, July 3.
The new initiative was first mooted seven months ago after former anti-apartheid activists and leaders expressed their disillusionment and disappointment at the absence of organisations such as the United Democratic Front(UDF) and the Natal Indian Congress(NIC) in the new democratic order.
Some of the anti-apartheid activists who took part in the workshop on Jukly 3 included Yusuf Vawda, Siva Naidoo, Ms Eunice David, Professor Jerry Coovadia, Dr Farouk Meer, former Judge, Thumba Pillay, Dr Dilly Naidoo, Swaminathan Gounden, Ms Ela Gandhi, Paddy Kearney, Dr Crispin Hemson, Ms Coral Vinsen, and Fishy Maharaj.
Mr Vawda, who played a leading role as a community and political activist during the anti-apartheid days along with, among others, Pravin Gordhan, now Minister of Finance, and the late Yunus Mahomed, was the chairperson of the workshop. He articulated the inputs and concerns of the people who moved for the establishment of the new pressure group that would operate along the same lines as anti-apartheid organisations prior to 1994.
The Active Citizens’ Movement(ACM) would be a non-political organisation that would contribute to the creation of a socially-cohesive and egalitarian society, based on the values of South Africa’ Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
“The ACM will help to strengthen participatory democracy through programmes that eliminate obstacles to equality and strengthen good governance, transparency, accountability and sustainability,” said Vawda.
“The ACM’s values are non-racism and non-sexism, a commitment to social, economic and environmental justice, appreciation for diversity, integrity, honesty and respect, and a commitment to resolving issues through peaceful action.
“As a movement not aligned to any political party, the ACM will co-operate with, challenge and lobby government and the private sector in the pursuit of our goals.
“The new movement will also collaborate with and strengthen civil society, specifically NGOs and communities.
“We aim to form a broader network based on collaboration and not competition to bring about a truly non-racial, democratic, socially-cohesive and egalitarian society.”
The emergence of the Active Citizens’ Movement is a clear indication that many former anti-apartheid activists and leaders are disillusioned with the lack of values and principles among many who occupy important positions today.
Many people believe such a progressive organisation in the new non-racial and democratic South Africa is long overdue. Ends – Subry Govender July 3 2016