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Published: 23 Aug 2012
|SA: Mamphela Ramphele: Address by founder of the Citizens Movement, at the Amy Biehl Memorial Lecture and Youth Spirit Awards, University of the Western Cape (23/08/2012)|
“Yet, the education system is in crisis; we have a school drop-out rate of more than 500 000 from each age cohort and have 600 000 unemployed graduates whilst 800 000 vacancies go begging for skills. Youth unemployment is at 34.5% for 15 – 34-year-olds, and at 51% for 18 – 24-year-olds. There are high levels of corruption (the Auditor-General speaks of cadre deployment at the expense of competence), and proposed legislation which threatens the very fabric of our democracy, like the Secrecy Bill and the Traditional Courts Bill. On top of this there are rising levels of (violent) service delivery protests as citizens gets fed up with the State’s inability to provide basic services.
“So, 19 years after the killing of Amy Biehl, South Africa finds itself at yet another crossroad, where citizens like you and I are called to action. At this crossroad, we are called to deal with our woundedness from the past. The call to action is a call for every one of us to take ownership of South Africa and to create our future.
“Taking ownership requires us to shed our tendency to show deference to our leaders to the extent of electing, appointing and tolerating mediocrity, incompetence and impunity in corruption in the public sector. It is a process that starts with myself, my home, my community, my city and ultimately my country.
“It is about what I am doing to improve the state of education in my school (as parent, as teacher, as learner). It is about what I am doing to improve the living conditions in my street – have I read the Integrated Development Plan for my area, and am I holding my local counsellor accountable for his/her actions?
“It is about doing the kinds of things that the young people nominated for the Spirit of Youth Awards are being recognised for. These nominees are the shapers of tomorrow. This is what the Citizens Movement is all about. We hold the following vision: A proactive and informed South African citizenry, walking together with an effective and accountable government to create a better future for all.
“To realise this vision, we call upon you to join us on this journey. It is a journey to realising the vision of a South Africa in which all citizens are agents of their own destiny, and a South Africa which provides every child with the promise of a better tomorrow. It is about realising the ideal of the South Africa that Amy Biehl’s legacy is dedicated to.”