Most people would agree that South Africa is a very special place. Few countries in the world celebrate unity in diversity as we do. Our complex yet rich political history has set us on a promising path toward a future where all of our people can share in the successes of our nation and work together to resolve our collective challenges. Who will ever forget Nelson Mandela’s walk to freedom through the prison gates in 1990, and four years later when we stood united in long queues on April 27, 1994 eagerly waiting to cast our first democratic vote? Or when the whole nation stood together to support our victorious Springboks in the 1995 Rugby World Cup™ and the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations! Most importantly, Nelson Mandela’s election as our first democratically elected president secured our place in the family of nations.
One of the most important acts in the birth of our new nation was the drafting of a new constitution. A collective acknowledgment of the injustices of our past and an adoption of a human rights centred society are expressed. We would be a nation that strives to uphold democratic values, human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism. After many hours of courageous negotiations and debate, President Mandela signed the new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa into law on 10 December 1996. This was a watershed moment for South Africans of all cultures, irrespective of religion or creed.
South Africa must restore the hope and trust in a shared democratic future based on the supremacy of the Constitution with active and informed citizens as stewards able to hold their leaders accountable. RiSA is a vehicle that enables citizens to bring to life the Preamble of our Constitution as expressed by South Africans through their freely elected representatives so as to:
- Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
- Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
- Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person;
- Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
GOOD GOVERNANCE IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THE CONTINENT
Two decades after Apartheid’s fall the mood has changed. Nelson Mandela has passed away, the transformational aspirations of 1994 have waned; increasing socio-political unrest, levels of poverty, unemployment, inequality and poor governance indicate our failure to realise the just society promised at the dawn of our democracy. This failure has the potential to undermine our hard-earned political settlement.
The time has now come for South Africa to once more become an inspiration to the world using Africa’s potential for greatness and its capacity to renew itself by promoting good governance, investment in its youthful population and to kick start inclusive and innovative enterprises to drive sustainable socio-economic development.