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ALL politicians and civil servants should be compelled by law to use public services such as public hospitals and schools – and failure to do so should result in them facing criminal charges punishable with 10 years’ imprisonment without an option of a fine.
This is the demand and challenge that the September National Imbizo (SNI) is to place before politicians at Parliament’s gates when the SNI launches its “People’s Manifesto” on Wednesday, according to the organisation’s co-ordinator, Andile Mngxitama.
Coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the murder of Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko, the launch is aimed at raising black people’s consciousness about their condition.
“If politicians were to use the hospitals and the schools used by ordinary black people, we would not be faced with having to do with the horrible conditions they have to deal with presently,” said Mngxitama.
He said the launch of the “People’s Manifesto” was aimed at inspiring philosophical, ideological and political strategic thinking regarding the need for a system that “puts black people first”.
Formed in 2010 in Johannesburg and referring to itself as a “revolutionary movement, and not a political party”, the SNI believes that since the ANC came into power 18 years ago, its leaders only catered for themselves, their families and big business.
As a result, according to the SNI, “black lives under the ANC government have been a disaster zone”.
The Western Cape’s ANC provincial secretary, Songezo Mjongile, said the SNI was taking a “simplistic” approach to a problem that required a “systemic” solution.
“This issue is being blown out of proportion.
“Some politicians continue to live in rural areas and townships, and their children attend schools there.
“So, to claim that all politicians’ children go to private schools is an over-generalisation. Taking children out of private schools is not going to solve the issue,” said Mjongile.
He said those who were concerned should join the government in its efforts to improve education.
Zak Mbhele, spokesman for DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, said Zille believed it was “important for politicians to use public services because it helps to ensure high standard in those public services”.
“If politicians educate their children at public schools and use public hospitals, accountability, good management and effective resource management will improve.
“She (Zille) has set the example in this regard, having given birth to her children at Mowbray Maternity Hospital and sent them to Grove Primary School [a government school],” said Mbhele.