Sandton - Former president Kgalema Motlanthe has warned that the country’s development path will not progress if citizens continue being excluded from true genuine political participation.
Motlanthe was speaking on Wednesday night in Sandton, Johannesburg, where his foundation was handing over its report on inclusive growth.
Last year, the foundation held a summit which drew public and private sectors representatives, trade unions and civil society as part discussing the country’s pressing challenges, including socio-economic exclusion and stagnant economic growth.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Motlanthe said the ANC-led government had created a culture of dependency where ordinary citizens were not role players in decision making other than voting.
“The first omission that contributed to us finding ourselves where are today was the failure to essentially ask where are the people in 1994.
“The movement which waged the struggle in the name an on behalf of the people was then elected in the formal Cabinet and other bodies of state, but failed to ask the question, where are these people in whose name these struggles were waged,” Motlanthe said.
He said the government did not provide for channels of political participation by citizens other than the fact that once every five years there was a general election where citizens were asked for their votes.
“We created a mentality that citizens have no role to play. We are the liberators. We brought freedom and we know best how freedom will be enjoyed by South Africans. Once we ascended into the corridors of government, we then promised delivery of this and the other,” Motlanthe said.
He said while the country was needing critical solutions to solve its persistent socioeconomic problems, ordinary South Africans did not view themselves as participants but recipients and beneficiaries of what be delivered to them by the political elite.
“Any process that excludes people is doomed to fail. We have got to be meticulous about ensuring that we tap into the collective brain that resorts among the people,” he said.
He also took a swipe at ANC and other political parties, saying their constitutions were not aligned to the Constitution, as they gave power to parties and not citizens to choose its representatives, which led to people with no allegiance to the constitution being chosen as public representatives.
“Of course we are approaching elections, and we will see what we end up with. But this contributes towards the weakening of the state,” he said.