Owing mainly to the marginalization of the majority of the people under apartheid, South Africa has a history of an active and politically conscious citizenry. However, the dawn of freedom and democracy in 1994, led to politically complacency that demobilized society as a whole. Trusting in the new South African government, the active and politically active citizenry relaxed created an organizational vacuum in society. However, once the nation noticed that governing structures were being disabled to serve the interests of a few, we observed the upsurge in civil society activism in recent times.

Former activists who have been watching the developments with great concern have decided that enough is enough. The civil society giant that was asleep for over two decades is awakening. In recent times we have observed the re-emergence of a dynamic civil society reminiscent of the apartheid days.  At various corners of South Africa we saw Freedom under Law, Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) and Corruption Watch amongst others being formed to guard our precious democracy. The Nkandla debacle, Nenegate, the attack on Treasury and how the governing party managed it, pushed more citizens to come back from activism retirement. We saw more civil society organisations emerging like South Africa First, Save South Africa, Coalesce, Johannesburg Against Injustice and Active Citizens Movement (ACM).

ACM is a civil society organisation that was initiated by former activists of the progressive democratic movement, namely, the United Democratic Front (UDF), The African National Congress (ANC), South African National Students Organisation (SANSCO) amongst others. These are activists who do not harbour any ambitions of occupying positions in government or parliament. They are compelled by their civic duty to save the country from descending into chaos. They were active in the struggle when the benefits of activism were prison and death. Here we count stalwarts like Ella Gandhi, Prof. Jerry Coovadia and Judge Thumba Pillay.

The three objectives of the ACM is to create a caring state; hold government and public representatives accountable; and give back power to the people through their active participation in governance. All sectors of our society are covered for example, education, law, health, finance. Hence the ACM is collaborating with like-minded civil society organisations to push against the capture of the Treasury. This push will be displayed with the support that will be given to Pravin Gordhan, Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashule when they appear in court in Pretoria on 2 November 2016.

A number of protest actions have been organised all over the country with the main action in Pretoria. Durban, being the birth place of the ACM, is also hosting a big protest action at Gugu Dlamini Park on 2 November 2016 from 08h00 until 11h30. It is also facilitating and supporting other protest actions that are currently being held as a build up to 2 November 2016 and some will be held in other parts of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg, Port Shepstone) on the same day, 2 November 2016.



Source: Warara Kakaza

interim committee member

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