Marius Fransman: People are dying for change

Marius Fransman Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers

Marius Fransman Leon Lestrade / Independent Newspapers

Published May 28, 2024


It is time for change. Over the past few months since the launch of the People’s Movement for Change (PMC), we have criss-crossed the length and breadth of our beautiful country, especially the Northern Cape and the Western Cape- Everywhere we go, it is the same familiar refrain; people are hungry for change.

After more than two decades in government in various capacities, over the past two years, I have focused on my business interests. However, collaborating on the recent production of the Khoekhoe Saga flighted on SABC, the bitter plight of the First Nation peoples of this country drew me back to the political arena.

I have always viewed myself as more of a developmental activist than a career politician, and that has defined the PMC that our goal is beyond NGE2024, and that ours is to create a space where the ordinary people can be linked to more experienced people.

Our goal is to connect with the suffering of our communities and fight the fights that will bring change.

You look into the eyes of the aunties of Mitchell’s Plain, the gogos in Khayelitsha and De Doorns as well as the youth of De Aar, and see the palpable loss of hope. For many, the next Sassa payment is too far, and for others, the daily slog of sitting by the roadside waiting for casual piecemeal work has drained the life out of them.

Even matriculants, university drop-outs, and young university graduates have been robbed of all optimism and prospects of finding gainful employment, which is slim and bleak.

This needs to change.

In the Western Cape, a non-white matriculant has seven times less chance of finding a job than white counterparts. This is further exacerbated in management echelons where both private and public sectors are populated by 72 percent of whites despite being a minority at local, provincial, and national levels.

People are tired of empty promises and of politicians who only make appearances when there are elections and by-elections.

For all the politicking of rescuing South Africa, rebuilding, and working together to do more, politicians of all hues and colours are alienated from the communities that put them in power. People are tired of career politicians who have selective hearing reserved for the campaign trial. People are dying for change.

Elected politicians don’t live the experience of poor households who have to send children to bed hungry and struggle for days, sometimes for weeks because there is no running water or the electricity units run out faster than they are punched in. Many resort to begging, scavenging through waste dumps and others turn to petty crime and theft. Life must change. People deserve better.

Careless councillors content with collecting their cushy salaries have no empathy for the service delivery complaints of communities. The cries of suffering communities fall on deaf ears. It’s time for this heartlessness to change.

We feel the pain of informal traders who scrape together the meagre bits of money that they borrow from family, friends or loan sharks to start a survivalist business selling fruit and veg, baking or frying amagwinya vetkoek, or scavenging plastic and metal scrap just to put food on the table.

We have seen the heartless law enforcement officers tear down stalls and confiscate goods and products from mothers of single-headed households, eking out a living to feed their children. Who doesn’t want life to change for the better?

As if the problem of compounded poverty, hunger, and unemployment is not enough, communities have to contend with rampant social dysfunction with hardly a poor home without a drug-addict stealing even the most basic foodstuffs, old clothes, even pots and plates for the next fix.

Don’t think of calling law enforcement they either won’t pick, don’t pitch, or arrive days after the crisis has abated. Communities are crying for change.

One would expect reformed gangsters to have greater empathy with their families and communities struggling under the scourge of crime, daily killings, and a death toll filling up already overcrowded cemeteries.

Who listens to the cries of mothers who have lost sons in the prime of adulthood or innocent school children killed in crossfire. Our only interest can’t be just to bus our people in to fill up stadiums and then return them to crime and gangster infested neighbourhoods. Our people are dying for change.

South Africa is a young democracy and has much to be proud of in its first three decades. However, we have mounting challenges that require serious change; an economy that needs to transform, rampant inequality that has become an existential threat, the social burden of poverty that must change, and corruption, crime, gender- based violence and gripping gangsterism that is throttling the life out of communities.

The time for an Economic Codessa is now thirty years overdue.

The PMC believes it is about the Economy and the inequality gap in society and we will be pursuing socio economic justice.

People want change and don’t want to hear old worn-out promises.

Wherever we go, we are encouraged by the passion of young people to make a difference and build a better tomorrow. The PMC has drawn in serious capacity.

We consider it an intellectual bank of capacity that can serve our people and deliver the change that they want and deserve; seasoned government leaders and workers, professionals from all industries, pastors, Imams and priests, business leaders, and workers from all walks of life.

Most come from the most impoverished families and communities, but we all consider ourselves the people’s movement for change.

We also call on a just global order and call on our people to know what an Injustice anywhere in the world is a threat to justice everywhere in the world and hence we calling for an end to the genocide against the people of Palestine.

*Marius Fransman is the leader of the People’s Movement for Change.

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL or Independent Media.

IOL Opinion