Voices

EFF allows the past to overshadow the future

2020-02-16 15:37

There is nothing we do better as a nation than to run to the grave sites of our past and curse, hoping that out of the dust and ashes will emerge the solutions to our impasse.

This summarises the events of this year’s state of the nation address and the subsequent discourse that has ensued.

The EFF, the third-largest party represented in Parliament, proudly claims that it has the largest constituency of young people.

On the same day that FW de Klerk held an interview in which he restated his long-held view that apartheid was not a crime against humanity, Stats SA released the quarterly labour survey.

It reminded us about the huge crisis of unemployment among young people.

“Of the 20.4 million young people aged 15 to 34 years, 40.1% were not in employment, education or training in the fourth quarter of last year.”

It matters not that De Klerk represents very little for the future of this country; he might be a living repository of what is bad about our past, but he most certainly cannot help or take part in the discourse about our future

Instead of this being the legitimate exigency that the “party of youth” raises to halt the business of Parliament and draw attention to the crisis, the EFF chose to dig, spade and shovel, to revive an actor of the past.

If anything this should tell young people about the contempt and disdain our politics has for them.

No wonder young people are apathetic. The matters concerning them take a back seat even to De Klerk.

Many of us take exception to the EFF’s parliamentary theatrics and are not afraid to say as much.

But even we would have found it compelling to put aside our biases and consider the potency of their exigency had it been about the true plight of young people.

Surely we can all agree that it cannot be business as usual with regard to this matter?

However, from a political script development point of view, this wouldn’t have attracted the right type of attention for the EFF.

Politics of the gallery cannot be burdened with boring considerations such as substance.

Our country is going through a very challenging period; many are hopeless and destitute because of how our politics has failed. It is, therefore, easy to gravitate to the past than to be courageous in confronting our challenges and forging ahead to a better future.

From purely a content-development perspective De Klerk and Pravin Gordhan make for compelling entertainment.

De Klerk remains a living symbol of our apartheid past, his name raises emotions and hits the right notes for the kind of reaction the EFF seeks.

It matters not that De Klerk represents very little for the future of this country; he might be a living repository of what is bad about our past, but he most certainly cannot help or take part in the discourse about our future.

Our country is going through a very challenging period; many are hopeless and destitute because of how our politics has failed.

It is, therefore, easy to gravitate to the past than to be courageous in confronting our challenges and forging ahead to a better future.

For his part, President Cyril Ramaphosa was able to address the crisis of the unemployment among young people, putting forward action plans for which they must hold him accountable.

He committed to supporting young entrepreneurs, opening opportunities through the Yes4Youth service, providing skills training and setting up resources to help young people become more employable.

These are still grand plans, the details of which are still to be provided. But they make a more convincing case for young people than the cursing-at-grave-sites exercise by the EFF.

Makhombothi is youth activist


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March 29 2020