South Africans lived through a brutal year in 2019. A flailing economy, load shedding, startling revelations at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture and the never-ending stream of devastating gender-based violence cases are just some of the blows that spring to mind. By the end of the year, we were weary.
The festivities to welcome a new decade have proved just as bleak as the end of the year did.
In the next few days, the nation will learn how many lives have been lost on our roads over the past three weeks. Daily news of tragic crashes claiming multiple lives reminds us that we continue to die unnecessarily on our roads.
Negligence, drunk driving, unroadworthy and overcrowded vehicles, speeding, and other factors are preventable and within our control, yet we continue to flout road safety rules, regardless of the consequences.
The scourge of gender-based violence continues unabated. In the past few weeks, more women have been killed by those who are supposed to love and care for them. It does not seem to matter who you are, how old you are, where you are from, or how rich or poor you are as a woman, this country is not safe for you. The endless calls to stop gender-based violence have been made, but men continue to kill women and children.
And, in our fury over the lack of service delivery, we continue to destroy the very public amenities that have been built in our communities to educate our children or to care for the sick.
Schools have been vandalised and resources destroyed just as the new school year is about to start. Our children have, yet again, been let down by thugs’ selfishness.
As a nation, we are at a crossroads. Our time is running out to get the country on track. If we don’t, we face a far more dire future – one of uncontrolled lawlessness, violence, misery, anger, poverty and pain.
Yes, government has a role to play, but we cannot only look to it to solve the country’s ills. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as individuals to make the kind of social contribution that enhances lives and offers even a glimmer of hope during these dark times.
We make choices every single day; those choices must be made with the greater good in mind.
Let us make 2020 a year of positive change.