Dr Lehohla is the former SA statistician general and the former head of Statistics SA. File photo.
Dr Lehohla is the former SA statistician general and the former head of Statistics SA. File photo.

We each have the spirit to rise from the ashes

By Opinion Time of article published Mar 28, 2021

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By: Pali Lehohla

AZWI Mmboyi, once asked me as the then statistician-general, whether it would be correct to argue that his qualification would be invalid if his father paid for his education through ill-gotten proceeds. The question came after I had declined his promotion.

My position was defeated in the labour relations court and Mmboyi got his promotion. His point rings true in several settings.

In May 2004, then Fifa president Sepp Blatter made our dreams come true when he announced that South Africa had won the rights to host the 2010 World Cup.

Eleven years later, Blatter stepped down under a dark cloud, but that did not take away the fact that we hosted a successful World Cup that inspired many.

Which brings me to the Mamelodi Sundowns Platform. Mamelodi Sundowns grew from strength to strength and sustained a winning streak through ill-gotten funds that flowed into the love nest of the entrepreneurial spirit of Zola Mahobe and Snowy Moshoeshoe. Patrice Motsepe grew the brand of Sundowns to become the giant it is.

Today, South Africa has its 1994 and 2004 dreams dashed as the ANC throttles its own throat. South Africans are waking up from 27 years of hibernation to a mendacious monster.

While a good organisation with a mobilising philosophy as a leader of society is necessary to move a country, it is insufficient.

The ANC has collapsed under its own weight as it stands as accused number one in the corruption stakes.

But Sundowns has grown two giants that have sent a sharp searchlight of hope etched in reality of our latter day lives. Pitso Mosimane, an accomplished player who, if not for apartheid, would have reached the stars, has become the number one coach in Africa, out of the successes he notched at Mamelodi Sundowns. Motsepe is now the president of the Confederation of African Football.

They demonstrate that active citizenry is a necessary and sufficient condition to inspire leadership and accountability. It propels people to their rightful position envisioned by the Freedom Charter and both the miracle of April 1994 and May 2004.

It proves that in the self-liquidating catalytic role, Nelson Mandela bestowed on each of us the spirit to make South Africa great, whatever our starting point.

As Mmboyi and Mahobe showed us, it is not always how you fall that is important. It is how you rise.

Dr Lehohla is the former SA statistician general and the former head of Statistics SA.

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.


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