The affordable education loan option
It is time South Africans started living according to the non-racial and non-sexist values enshrined in the constitution so as to transform society.
This was the message of Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel when he gave the eighth annual Peace, Safety and Human Rights memorial lecture in memory of the late minister Abdullah “Dullah” Omar and PAC stalwart Joe Moabi at Unisa on Wednesday night.
The annual lecture is organised by the university’s Institute for Social and Health Sciences to highlight challenges in democracy, human rights and safety – locally and internationally.
In 1994 Omar was appointed the first minister of justice. He died in 2004 after fighting a long battle with Hodgkin’s disease. Moabi was a leading PAC member, who went into exile in 1968 and returned in 1993 and worked for Unisa until he retired in 2003. He died in 2011.
“South Africa is the only country that has a constitution that speaks about non-racialism and non-sexism. Does non-racialism include the 110 percent Ndebele and 150 percent Zulu stickers that people have? Where do they come from and how do they fit in non-racialism?”
Manuel also rejected claims that the ANC sold out to white people when the constitution was drawn up. “It is not true that the ANC sold out. The values in the constitution are taken from the Freedom Charter. The constitution sets out the path for us and it requires physical and mental action.
“Change is not automatic. It is determined by measurable action of many. The challenges we face are different from the ones from the 1960s and 1980s or when we crafted the constitution.”
He said that 20 years into democracy important questions needed to be posed.
“When do we stop healing hurts of the past? When shall we say that we have done enough to have built a democratic society? Is there too much of the past embedded in the present? I’m not speaking of a failed democracy or state. We have achieved a lot. We need to do retrospection and make a call against complacency. We have values, but how do we become those values?”
Manuel also lamented “the tendency to start political parties when ignored. We must warn people to not be ensnared by people whose chief intent is to be elected to public office. The balkanisation into smaller and smaller parties is not the solution”.