Overwhelming Response to the Launch of The People’s Dialogue

Just two days after the launch of The People’s Dialogue on Friday morning, thousands of South Africans have already shared their ideas about what needs to be done to fix our country. Their message is clear: we love our country, we are frustrated by our political system, and we are desperate to engage in a conversation about how we can build a South Africa that works for all.

The response to the launch of the dialogue has exceeded my wildest expectations, not only in terms of the number of submissions received, but also by the quality of inputs made. It is evident that South Africans want a positive, solutions-oriented approach and a move away from the negativity and divisiveness of our politics. 

My aim with the launch of The Dialogue was to create a platform for ordinary South Africans to make their voices heard in defining a shared vision for the future of our country. For too long we have left important decisions about South Africa to politicians who only have their own self-interest in mind.

I have always believed that ordinary South Africans know what needs to be done to save South Africa. The thousands of inputs received so far demonstrates just how true this is. 

While inputs received have covered the full spectrum of challenges facing our people, the need to jumpstart the economy, create jobs, and improve the education system to equip young people with the required skills are among the primary concerns raised. 

In response to this, one citizen highlighted the need to “move away from the adversarial relationship that government has with business,” while another suggested prioritising a national school feeding program noting that children “can't go to schools on empty stomachs.” Although the citizen was quick to point out providing parents with jobs should be the preferred option, in the absence of this they argued that “with children [being] fed at school, families are better positioned to navigate financial hurdles.” Yet another citizen called for government to “restrict SADTU as they are protecting unqualified and incompetent teachers.”

Other recurrent themes included the need for electoral reform to improve accountability between public representatives and those who elect them, a transparent performance management system for senior government officials and office bearers, a zero-tolerance policy for any form of corruption in the public service and for political office bearers with a life-long exclusion for anyone found guilty, and a greater focus on civic education as part of primary and secondary education.

Over the coming months we will be analysing the inputs received – a mammoth task given the large volume of data generated in the first two days alone – with the aim of providing comprehensive feedback upon the conclusion of the campaign.

I would like to thank the thousands of people who have responded to the call to engage in just a matter of two days. We must encourage all South Africans to participate in The People’s Dialogue by visiting our website at www.thepeoplesdialogue.org.za

Now more than ever we need to be united in finding solutions to the greatest challenges facing our country. South Africa is at a tipping-point. We cannot afford to sit back and allow our political system to destroy our country any further.

Join the conversation today.

Herman Mashaba
The People’s Dialogue