A sewage spill in Matholesville on the West Rand. Picture: SEBABATSO MASOMO
A sewage spill in Matholesville on the West Rand. Picture: SEBABATSO MASOMO

Ebrahim Harvey’s profound article analysing the reasons for our continuing journey towards a failed state is a hugely useful contribution but sadly perpetuates the vacuum of opinion from political commentators as to how to reverse SA’s fortunes (“Why postapartheid SA is unravelling”, May 11).

Certainly, we need to understand why we are in such a shambles, and Harvey’s article demonstrably does that. But more importantly and urgently we need expert political analysts to focus on solutions rather than historical analysis. These solutions must surely be found in reconstructing our fragmented political environment in a way that a strong, healthy whole emerges, greater than the sum of its weak and failing parts.

Contrary to oft publicised opinion, it is doubtful that our redemption lies in a stronger opposition, but rather in a stronger governing political unit. In a time of political crisis it is incumbent on honourable leaders to put the nation first and themselves and their parties second.

This happened at Codesa in the 1990s, and perhaps it is again time for the convening of a summit of party leadership teams, together with other civil society organisations, committed to forging a realignment of their structures.

This should aim to provide the nation with a desperately needed nonracist, conservative (limited government, free enterprise, private ownership, property rights, social stability) and compassionate (concern for and empathy with others) party that embraces a constitutional democracy, strictly upholds the principles of freedom of the individual and the rule of law, and strives to provide a state of human dignity to all the citizens of our multiracial (rainbow) nation.

Without such a revitalised governing structure our nation is headed deeper into the swamp of a failed state. Now is the time for statesmanship in the mould of Nelson Mandela.

David Gant

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