Herman Mashaba and Mmusi Maimane are both championing Active Citizenship, as Save South Africa petition gathers over 210 000 signatures!
South Africa (20 February 2020) – Late last year, the team at Good Things Guy decided to switch off South Africa’s top good news website – for 48 hours – to protest the crime and violence in our country. Little did we know that the idea of turning the good news off, and creating a petition for Active Citizens would also start important conversations in 2020.
The petition gained over 100 000 signatures in just 24 hours, but the conversation and signatories slowed down as many South Africans felt powerless against corruption, crime, and everything else thrown at us daily.
“When you think about what is going on in SA, it is easy to get lost in negativity. The news reminds us daily that our crime is exceptionally high, that the economy is on the brink of breaking, unemployment stats are at an all-time high, corruption is rife, and the average South African is feeling the pressure. It’s becoming increasingly challenging to be optimistic about the future of our country.”
On Saturday morning Brent Lindeque – founder of Good Things Guy – woke up utterly despondent with South Africa again… but just for a second, and then wiped his eyes and thought about what he could do to make a difference. His main focus was on how to be an “Active Citizen”.
He came up with a really crazy idea but just five days later, and it seems like a new narrative has dawned in South Africa, one where many people with powerful voices are championing Active Citizens and holding corrupt and unjust government officials accountable!
Let’s sue the people who misuse their power and take advantage of people!
Lindeque wanted to ve and called a friend who is an Advocate in South Africa and asked a simple question… can the government be sued?
The answer was no, but also yes.
There are loopholes and cases of class-action lawsuits that have already been put forward, but he was told that it wasn’t a bad idea. Crazy, but not bad.
Lindeque would need to find the right people with the expertise for the idea, and even though he had no idea where to start, somehow, it all started to come together by itself.
The petition was updated with a clear mandate: To become Active Citizens. To find solutions to creating a better South Africa. To collectively find ways of holding those that are corrupt and unjust, accountable. To work together to Save South Africa. And to ask the government to take responsibility for the leaders who are misusing their power… or the people of South Africa would do that for them.
And the numbers shot up exponentially, reaching over 210 000 signatures in just a few days.
“I believe that just mentioning a criminal case to hold the corrupt and unjust government officials accountable, will gain groundswell and lead to more support. Hopefully, forcing the government to take responsibility for their actions and hold those leaders up against the hard hand of the law.”
And in just five days, Lindeque has been contacted by many firms who all believe that it is a good idea, and are willing to come on board for free.
“Ideally, it won’t be a civil case (money) as the government has no money… but a criminal case, to throw them in jail. Or at least just to try. And there is a groundswell of organizations that want to come on board for FREE. They feel that this is for the greater good of the country. Not self-gain.”
Sometimes it’s the craziest ideas that change the world, right?
Organization Undoing Tax Abuse
A few days after the petition started gaining traction again, Lindeque had a really hopeful discussion with Wayne Duvenage from the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA).
Duvenage is a businessman and entrepreneur turned civil activist. Following former positions as CEO of AVIS and President of SA Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, Duvenhage has headed up the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) since it’s inception in 2012.
OUTA is a Civil Action Organisation set up to challenge corruption and hold the guilty accountable. While initially challenging Gauteng’s e-Tolls, OUTA has grown and developed into an organization equipped with in-house litigation, research, investigation, communication, and administrative teams.
“Our crew of 40 are geared up to expose and challenge inefficiencies, maladministration and corruption within the state.”
OUTA’s role is to challenge the issues and hold those responsible for poor governance and corruption to account. Their aim is to halt wasteful expenditure and irrational decisions that are not in the best interests of society.
Lindeque is meeting with Duvnhage next week and says that the organization has so many exciting ideas about how we can become Active Citizens right now, and also how we can collectively hold the corrupt and unjust leaders accountable for their actions.
“I have no clue what will come of this, but the organisation believes in my crazy idea to create a class-action lawsuit against the corrupt and unjust leaders who have misused and manipulated their power.”
Mmusi Maimane – One South Africa Movement
“Now is our time to change this broken system. Now is our time to forge a new consensus that brings about real, structural change to our beautiful country.”
This is what Mmusi Maimane recently wrote in his new weekly newsletter entitled “Lixesha Lethu,” – which is isiXhosa for “It’s Our Time”.
Maimane has taken up the cause with his new Active Citizenship initiative called “One South Africa Movement” – the vehicle he is building to bring about real political, economic and social reform that changes the fortunes of our nation and sets it back on track to achieve the dream of 1994.
Maimane explains the movement as an extra-political, grassroots-based activist movement that disrupts the status quo and ushers in change that materially improves the lives of all South Africans, especially those left behind due to the lingering legacy of our evil past.
This past weekend, the inaugural Council met in Johannesburg and made several decisions around the Movement’s founding principles.
- To build and nurture a thriving movement focused on uniting South Africans from all walks of life and serving as a voice for diverse groupings of citizens from civil rights organisations, religious bodies, cultural groups, sports clubs and any other group or individual who identifies with our pact;
- To achieve broad consensus on a citizenship pact that commits all South Africans to active participation in building the future;
- To energise our people into active participation in solving the challenges facing their communities; and
- To fight for those excluded and left behind.
In line with these founding principles, the Movement will focus on championing the following five goals:
- An inclusive economy that is open to all, not reserved for a small elite. A focus on mass scale job creation that aligns with the skill-set of the country and addresses the rigid economy that excludes millions by design. This includes structural reforms to SMMEs, State-Owned Entities (SOEs) and the rules governing the labour market.
- Electoral reform to ensure citizens can directly elect their public representatives at local, provincial and national level, and in turn, hold them directly accountable. This includes amending the Electoral Act.
- The pursuit of justice and reversing the systematic and structural barriers which were put in place before the dawn of democracy in 1994. This includes education, land ownership, and economic exclusion.
- A culture of accountability in the public and private sectors where effective punishment for corruption is instilled.
- A flexible, pragmatic future-focused approach to solving issues including technological advancement and climate change.
Herman Mashaba – The people’s Dialogue
Herman Mashaba has also taken up the cause and will be forming a private prosecution team to pursue corruption cases in South Africa.
On 22 August 2016, Mashaba was elected Mayor of Johannesburg by the first sitting of the city council following countrywide local government elections. He announced his resignation on 21 October 2019 and left office on 27 November 2019 to join forces with his political ally, Maimane, who soon formed The People’s Dialogue, a medium to interact with ordinary South Africans and discuss social and civil issues.
And Mashaba has just announced that the People’s Dialogue will be launching private prosecutions also be working with the recently amended Public Audit Act to ensure that institutions like the Auditor General of South Africa are pursuing government officials civilly for their role in facilitating corruption on the part of politicians.
Mashaba says that corruption is a stain on our country, made worse by the massive need for public money to be directed at communities who continue to suffer 26 years into our democracy.
Despite daily revelations arising in the media about the shameless looting of state resources, and damming testimony from the Zondo Commission, Mashaba points out that we are yet to see any high-profile arrests and prosecutions for corruption. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is failing us, along with the idea that renewal is taking place within it.
Mashaba says that in the engagements The People’s Dialogue has had with millions of South Africans to date, it is clear that people are angry. They want to see action against corruption.
“That is why I am announcing that The People’s Dialogue will be engaging legal teams to pursue private prosecutions, working with other like-minded organizations committed to rooting out any sign of corruption in our country.
We will set up the best legal teams in the country and will begin to target those cases that the NPA has been sitting on for years. We are going to make sure that our corrupt politicians, for the first time, will live in fear.”
Here’s to the crazy ones
Often, it’s the craziest-sounding ideas that end up actually working the best. Perhaps even if a crazy idea to hold the corrupt accountable, fuels a bit of hope that South Africa can be better and we can be Active Citizens, then we have already won.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs.