Mailbox: South African farmer calls for citizen education to ensure future of Constitutional Democracy

I am a farmer in the Greytown area (KZN) and a BizNews subscriber.

Thank you for all the articles & interviews that BizNews produces. I have particularly enjoyed the political commentary over the last while. When I think about what I have heard and what I observe in our area of KZN, I am concerned. South Africa is our home and like many others I feel we are approaching a significant crossroad, where our future trajectory will be set.

We see people not voting because they are unhappy with the government resulting in low voter turnout. We observe ordinary citizens protesting and often barricading national roads over issues of basic service delivery (water, electricity, etc.). While it disrupts the local economy hugely, it gets results for them, and now ordinary people ‘believe’ that this is the only way to voice concerns and get issues attended to by the government. 

Read more: Community Speaks Out: Property – ‘no thanks, put your money elsewhere’

It seems to me, based on what I observe, that many South Africans do not understand that they live in a constitutional democracy, they do not understand that they have a critical role to play as active citizens in ensuring the system works. Instead they seem to have abandoned that and have resorted to disruption strategies to get attention, behaving like democracy illiterates. It seems that many South Africans see themselves as ‘subjects’ of a ruling party rather than ‘citizens’ of a constitutional democracy. None of this bodes well for elections 2024.

“Knowledge is power, but understanding is everything”.

The solution to this problem is seemingly easy. We need to be educating South Africans on how democracy works, what it means to be a citizen and what they should be doing as citizens.

The implementation of this is more challenging.

For starters, where would we find a simple, trusted Constitutional Democracy 101 course that is free of political interference? I am thinking something that could be completed in a day that is pitched at regular South Africans (not University students).

Read more: Mailbox: IRR’s Sara Gon replies to Lord Peter Hain – Before anyone can vote, people have to be persuaded to register

We are interested in doing this for our workforce and would be most appreciative if you would know if any courses like this exist.

Assuming we could find this trusted course, then we could challenge every business in the country to put their employees through the course and maybe even to sponsor their local NGO’s to run the course to non-employees in their areas. Considering the perilous state we find ourselves in, I am sure business would see it as time and money well spent and potentially we could cover a significantly large portion of the population to have a positive effect. This would start increasing the citizen : subject ratio in our population which would result in the 2024 elections being a true reflection of the wishes of the citizens of our beautiful country.

Sincerely,

Louis Botha (nom de plume)

Visited 996 times, 1 visit(s) today