Silence from Presidency reflects contempt for citizens – IRR

25 April 2021 - Despite promising a reply within 14 days, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office has contemptuously disregarded a memorandum delivered by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) on 3 March calling the government to account for the widespread and continuing abuses which afflict citizens daily, undermining their prospects of living better lives and robbing them of hope for the future.

Despite promising a reply within 14 days, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office has contemptuously disregarded a memorandum delivered by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) on 3 March calling the government to account for the widespread and continuing abuses which afflict citizens daily, undermining their prospects of living better lives and robbing them of hope for the future.

As the country prepares to celebrate Freedom Day, commemorating South Africa’s first post-apartheid elections on 27 April 1994, it is plain that the long record of citizen abuse in the intervening years reflects poorly on the government’s record of honouring the constitutional promises it made to the people who put it in power.

The Presidency’s silence on the IRR’s memorandum nearly two months after it was officially received – with a stamp and a signature – is symptomatic of the government’s contemptuous disregard for the plight of its citizens.

In our memorandum, we explained what we meant by citizen abuse, and what the government should do about it.

In summary, we said, citizen abuse is when the state:

  • Takes its citizens for granted;
  • Steals from taxpayers;
  • Wastes resources and money meant for community upliftment;
  • Appoints incompetent staff and officials;
  • Fails to take action against corruption and incompetence;
  • Introduces policies that harm the economy and deny access to economic opportunities;
  • Insults or stigmatises some citizens on grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation;
  • Undermines the rights and freedoms citizens enjoy;
  • Opposes citizens’ efforts to build better communities; and
  • Physically abuses citizens such as by shooting at them, beating them, torturing them, or confiscating their goods and assets.

Rather than taking practical steps to root out corruption, end damaging and debilitating policies such as expropriation without compensation and failing race-based empowerment edicts, or address official incompetence and lack of discipline in the police force, many politicians instead sow seeds of racial hatred, using race as a scapegoat for the corruption and mismanagement that has increasingly damaged the South African economy and citizens’ morale.

Despite the Presidency’s contempt, the IRR remains committed to holding the government to account, and to encouraging South Africans to recognise that they are not as powerless as they may feel if they stand together to protect one another’s constitutional rights and insist on government accountability.

Read the IRR’s memorandum at https://irr.org.za/campaigns/stop-citizen-abuse, and join the campaign to #StopCitizenAbuse. For more analysis on the topic, read https://dailyfriend.co.za/2021/03/08/time-to-stop-citizenabuse/

 
Media contacts: Gabriel Crouse, IRR writer and analyst – 082 510 0360; gabriel@irr.org.za
Amy-Claire Morton, IRR Content Producer – 084 867 1141; amy-claire@irr.org.za
Media enquiries: Michael Morris – 066 302 1968; michael@irr.org.za
Kelebogile Leepile – 079 051 0073; kelebogile@irr.org.za
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