Mbeki: SA needs healing & an independent voice for the people

Former President Thabo Mbeki Mbeki says part of the reason he’s joined this initiative is because it's time for the people to speak.

Former President Thabo Mbeki participates in the National Foundations Dialogue Initiative. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Former president Thabo Mbeki has referred to the country as a “sick nation” that requires healing and an independent voice for the people.

Mbeki, as well as former heads of state FW de Klerk and Kgalema Motlanthe, have kicked off the first of a series of national dialogues in Johannesburg on Friday.

The National Foundations dialogue initiative has launched these conversations to address the deep and pervasive general crisis facing the country.

Mbeki says South Africans have noticed serious problems around what’s happening or more importantly, not happening in South Africa’s young democracy.

“And yet that moving prayer has failed to give birth to the rose. According to whose right to belong to a common home has not as yet translated into a truly, equitably shared matrimony.”

Mbeki says the past three years have confirmed the urgency of this national dialogue, one which will give a voice to the people.

Mbeki adds no person or institution should have more authority than the will of the people.

“Anybody or institution who or which acts in a manner in violation of the provision of the Constitution is repudiating the will of the people.”

De Klerk, Motlanthe and former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka say the importance of a national dialogue is about paving the way forward for the future.

A strong theme emerging from the dialogue is that South Africans need to defend the Constitution.

Now a number of foundations, including the Chief Albert Luthuli and Desmond and Leah Tutu foundations, are pledging their support for this initiative.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza and Zamangwane Shange)