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Youth activist calls for civil society to be included in Cabinet reshuffle

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Youth activist calls for civil society to be included in Cabinet reshuffle

ACTIVATE! Change Drivers logo

16th August 2021

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A youth activist has penned an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling for competent and experienced civil society members to be included in the Cabinet. Keagen Gertse, who is part of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ youth network, urges Government to consider the needs of all citizens, as opposed to the political needs of a few.

Gertse quotes President Ramaphosa’s words in 1995 to the Constitutional Assembly: “We must draft a constitution that will fully be legitimate, a constitution that will represent the aspirations of our people.” Gertse does not believe the current Government truly acknowledges the needs of the people.

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“As a nation under the auspices of a democratic Constitution and the rule of law we have come far and is yet to go even further to achieve those great ideals envisioned in our plight for freedom. As a state tied to political turbulence in the wake of infighting, we can no longer turn a blind eye to our non-functional executive disposition and move forward on hope, only. It is on this basis that I am writing to you, as head of state. You have a duty, vested in the same Constitution you formed part of writing; a duty that should not only consider ANC NEC position-vying for executive decision making, but in equal part should take into account South Africa as a whole, seeking an equilibrium,” writes Gertse in his open letter.

Given the recent civil unrest and failings of the security cluster in anticipating the violence; Gertse asks the President to fully activate section 91(3) of the Constitution that states: “The President (a) must select the Deputy President from among the members of the National Assembly, (b) may select any number of Ministers from among the members of the National Assembly and (c) may select no more than two Ministers from outside the Assembly.”

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Gertse asserts that Cabinet positions should be granted based on experience, competence and sector knowledge, not on the grounds of political loyalism.

Gertse, who is also part of ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, a youth network of over 4 500 young active citizens who through their everyday actions strive to create a just society for everyone, therefore calls for competent, non-political appointments from the civil and private sector as Ministers in the Departments of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities; and Small Business Development. “This, I believe, would guide us in restoring trust in the national executive to which many shortcomings can be attributed.”

Restoring the dignity, safety and economic prosperity of all citizens, their need for representation and socioeconomic plight is paramount, writes Gertse.

He concludes: “Mr President, restore our hope in this administration and become one of the few leaders who place South Africa before the destructive politics of the governing party.”

Written by Keagen Gertse, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers

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