The First President of the Pan African Parliament, Ambassador Getrude Mongella, has encouraged South Africans to unite and take the lead to put aside differences and work towards a better country.
Speaking from Tanzania, keynote speaker Mongella addressed The Interfaith Forum of South Africa (TIFSA) taking place in Johannesburg this week.
More than 1,000 delegates and religious leaders from different faiths converged at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Johannesburg in an effort to address the “crisis” state of South Africa.
Mongella, who joined many South African leaders in the trenches to fight for freedom from the Apartheid regime, said at that time they had hope South Africa would seize the opportunity to create an advantage from a disadvantage.
“We really didn’t spend all that time in the trenches to come watch us destroy ourselves.
“Pay back to the African people who struggled for you. Make use of the opportunities already existing in your country. Fighting each other would not help; it would destroy everything, and you would have to start from a worse position to try and reclaim your nation,” she warned.
Mongella further encouraged the South African people to spread the Ubuntu philosophy to other African nations and develop the continent by working together and exchanging knowledge on a continent that could challenge other continents.
“Despite the many problems you are facing, take up the challenge of developing the continent.
“The conflicts we are facing now on the African continent are very pathetic. To see what is happening in West Africa and some parts of North Africa is sad.
“Yes, there are problems you are experiencing, like struggling to lead your economy and infighting, but don’t be so inwardly looking. Remember, you have a responsibility as South Africans,” Mongella said.
TIFSA has voiced their deepening concerns about the “social and moral crisis” in South Africa that has been exacerbated by poverty, inequality, social ills, violence, corruption, and unemployment.
The conference will take place from Monday until Wednesday, and discussions are expected around issues such as power cuts, water shortages, crumbling infrastructure, and the economy in South Africa.