We, the people, have the power to demand change 

We, the people, have the power to demand change 

As the year ends, with the festive season upon us, what can we expect from President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet, in helping to resolve many of the challenges facing the country? 

Nearly 62 years ago in 1961, US president JF Kennedy, in his inaugural speech, said: “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” 

The expectation is always to demand; we demand houses; we demand free education; and we demand protection from criminals invading our country, seeking to cause harm to innocent people. 

All these demands are important, after all we pay taxes and rates, so we are entitled to demand for our provision. 

But as we demand, we also have a responsibility to hold to account those who represent us in parliament, legislatures and municipal chambers. 

We must ask difficult questions.  

Our role as citizens is to put pressure on members of parliament, members of provincial legislatures and municipal councillors to work hard for us, and in the final analysis, to ensure the three tiers of government serve us optimally. 

They are not kings or queens; we are the kings and queens, and that distinction must be emphasised if we are to be effective in getting what is due to us in terms of service delivery. 

In the final analysis, it is the local government that is related more to service delivery, which includes, among other things, the provision of clean water, of electricity, of the infrastructure as well as roads, parks and football stadiums.  

And so, what about Ramaphosa?  

Ramaphosa and his cabinet must make sure that all three tiers of government work in sync, and each unit works not in opposition to another, but work in unity to the benefit of the citizens. 

The citizens should, in the words of Kennedy, not abdicate their role of holding municipal officials accountable for service delivery difficulties. 

But when political leaders fail to deliver services at municipal level, the people or the ratepayers must go to them and demand accountability. 

The words of Kennedy, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, are not hollow words.  

Citizens are not powerless. They have the muscle (voice) to force changes. 

The country has a framework and a constitution to help us make progress. 

Despite all the challenges, including high rates of youth unemployment, Ramaphosa is leading from the front, fighting for every foreign investment to land in our country – a Christmas gift to the country. 

In the end, with Ramaphosa taking a lead, we as citizens must ask ourselves: what can we do for our country?  

Progress comes about when the government and citizens work together for the common good of all. 

As this is our last edition of the year, we take this opportunity to wish our readers a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. 

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